Of­fen­sive line­men, drafted rook­ies and oth­ers to watch at Dove Val­ley

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - — Cameron Wolfe, The Den­ver Post

Af­ter their first non­play­off sea­son since 2010, the Bron­cos will count on their 2017 rookie class more than ever. Each of the Bron­cos’ top three draft picks could carve out a ma­jor role this sea­son, and the team’s third-day se­lec­tions have plenty of po­ten­tial. Here is a break­down of Den­ver’s drafted rook­ies:

OT Garett Bolles First round, 20th over­all pick

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 297 pounds

Col­lege: Utah

The pick of Bolles rep­re­sents ev­ery­thing Bron­cos gen­eral man­ager John El­way wanted to ac­com­plish this off­sea­son — phys­i­cal­ity, tough­ness and strength up front. Of­fen­sive line was ar­guably the Bron­cos’ big­gest flaw last sea­son, and Bolles is the left tackle of the fu­ture. His sweet foot­work, size and in­ten­sity will make him a great fit in Den­ver.

DE De­mar­cus Walker Sec­ond round, 51st over­all pick

Height: 6-4

Weight: 280

Col­lege: Florida State

The ul­tra-pro­duc­tive col­lege pass rusher (16 sacks last sea­son) adds more juice to a de­fense loaded with Von Miller, Shane Ray and Derek Wolfe. Walker is a “tweener,” who has shined as a 4-3 in­te­rior pass rusher, and will be try­ing to make a smooth tran­si­tion to the Bron­cos’ 3-4 align­ment.

WR-KR Car­los Hen­der­son Third round, 82nd over­all pick

Height: 5-11

Weight: 199

Col­lege: Louisiana Tech

First-year Bron­cos coach Vance Joseph wanted more of­fen­sive “juice” and got it with this draft pick. Ac­cord­ing to Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus, Hen­der­son led the NCAA with 48 forced missed tack­les. Hen­der­son is a triple threat as a re­ceiver, re­turner and rusher. He could make a rookie im­pact as a kick re­turner and slot re­ceiver.

CB Bren­dan Lan­g­ley Third round, 101st over­all pick

Height: 6-0

Weight: 201

Col­lege: La­mar

Lan­g­ley is the Bron­cos’ an­nual Day 2 up­side pick. They aren’t ex­pect­ing much from Lan­g­ley this sea­son, out­side of be­ing a fourth or fifth cor­ner­back. They believe Lan­g­ley has the ideal size, speed and ath­leti­cism to be­come a No. 1 cor­ner­back, given time and good coach­ing.

TE Jake Butt Fifth round, 145th over­all pick

Height: 6-5

Weight: 246

Col­lege: Michi­gan

The se­lec­tion of Butt could end up be­ing the steal of the draft, but it will de­pend largely on his health. Butt has first- or sec­ond-round ta­lent, but dropped to the fifth round as he re­cov­ers from his sec­ond torn right ACL. If Den­ver plays it con­ser­va­tively, Butt may not have a huge rookie im­pact. He could be­come a start­ing tight end by 2018.

WR-PR Isa­iah Mcken­zie Fifth round, 172nd over­all pick

Height: 5-7

Weight: 173

Col­lege: Ge­or­gia

Mcken­zie, Part 2 of Joseph’s “juice” re­quest, could have the big­gest splash on spe­cial teams of this draft class as a punt re­turner. Mcken­zie is a smaller and shiftier ver­sion of Hen­der­son, who could be used in com­bi­na­tion with his draft team­mate to take pres­sure off De­mary­ius Thomas and Em­manuel San­ders.

RB De’an­gelo Hen­der­son Sixth round, 203rd over­all pick

Height: 5-7

Weight: 208

Col­lege: Coastal Carolina

A now-loaded run­ning back room will make it more dif­fi­cult for this Hen­der­son to make a rookie im­pact, but he has been im­pres­sive this sum­mer. Hen­der­son has a lot of C.J. An­der­son in his game as a pow­er­ful, bal­anced, one-cut run­ning back with good pass-catch­ing abil­ity.

QB Chad Kelly Sev­enth round, 253rd over­all pick

Height: 6-2

Weight: 224

Col­lege: Mis­sis­sippi

Kelly, Mr. Ir­rel­e­vant, has more in­trigue around him than maybe any other sev­enth-round pick in NFL his­tory. Kelly’s off-the-field trou­bles and Hall of Fame un­cle, Jim Kelly, are over­shad­ow­ing any­thing he does on the field. In­juries may lead the Bron­cos to “red­shirt” Kelly as the No. 3 QB on the ros­ter, plac­ing him on the prac­tice squad or phys­i­cally un­able to per­form list.

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