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Fifteen players to watch at Broncos training camp - 5. Garett Bolles

The Broncos' coaching staff wasn't simply going to hand their first-round pick the starting left tackle job. If Garett Bolles was going to become the Week 1 starter, he was going to have to earn the role.

Getting to the first team by minicamp -- at least on a 50-50, series-by-series split of the repetitions with Ty Sambrailo -- is an outstanding first step.

"He's made a lot of progress," Head Coach Vance Joseph said during minicamp. "It's a tough spot to play as a rookie, and it takes a lot of football I.Q. to play that spot in the NFL."

It also takes being a quick learner and applying lessons to ensure that when there are miscues, they don't happen again.

"He's not making the same mistake twice a lot of times, which is good," quarterback Trevor Siemian said during minicamp. "I think he's special and he's got a really bright future."

It's just a question of when that future starts. Sambrailo's play will have something to do with it; this is the first time in nearly two years that he has been healthy, and as a former second-round pick, he has a good draft pedigree of his own.

But Sambrailo has position flexibility, and Bolles was not drafted to sit on the bench for long. During OTAs, he showed the tenacity and nasty streak that helped make him a first-round pick.

"When he knows what to do, he can block his guy. His talent shows," Joseph said. "The ultimate issue is knowing what to do and how to do it, but he's a first-round pick for a reason. He's a talent."

Training camp will show whether that talent can be harnessed enough to put him into the starting lineup right away as the Broncos look to find their long-term answer at left tackle after two seasons of instability at the position.

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