ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Garett Bolles was the Broncos' man all along.
"When we look at his ability and we look at our need, it was a good fit," Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said after the first round concluded Thursday. "We still believe that he was the best guy on the board and the best guy for us."
Most importantly, Bolles could be the answer to one of the biggest roster questions that loomed when the week began.
Based on what they had on the roster before Thursday, the Broncos' stated plan was to have a competition to decide the Broncos' starting left tackle. That remains the case. But as the Broncos' first-round pick, Bolles was not selected with the intention of warming the bench.
"The best guy will play," Head Coach Vance Joseph said. "But he was drafted there for a reason."
The reason is clear -- to be the Broncos' left tackle now and for the foreseeable future.
"If Garett turns out to be what we think he is, he solves a big problem for us for a long time -- and that's that left tackle [position]," Elway said. "We really feel like we were fortunate that he was there."
In an offensive-line class that was light on potential immediate starters, the Broncos' brass considered Bolles to be the best of the lot. Joseph said it was "very close" between Bolles and Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk, who went to the New Orleans Saints with the 32nd pick. But Bolles' athleticism, tenacity and work as a pass blocker separated him from the pack.
"They're both very solid players, but both different," Joseph said. "Bolles is more of a leaner, more athletic tackle. Ramczyk is more of of a powerful run blocker first, and in my opinion, a pass protector second."
"The ceiling was much higher on Garett," Elway added. "We really liked that ability and the explosiveness that he has ... and also the mentality that he's going to bring. I think he brings a great mentality to that offensive line that needed a jolt, too."
It has certainly received it in the last several weeks. In the first 24 hours of the new league year, the Broncos signed guard Ronald Leary and tackle Menelik Watson, hoping to change the performance and demeanor of the entire offensive line. Now they add Bolles, whose nastiness and persistence on the field are his dominant traits.
"He's a perfect fit for what we've done in free agency and what we've brought in," Elway said.
As the first round progressed, some prospects like defensive end Jonathan Allen, tight end O.J. Howard and linebacker Reuben Foster fell into the teens -- and beyond, in the case of Foster. The shifting landscape spurred some discussion of other possibilities -- including a trade back in the first round, Elway noted.
"We did have some opportunities to go back, but we really felt good about the value we were getting at 20," Elway said. "We didn't want to risk that. He was the guy that we wanted."