Broncos OT Michael Schofield Could Alter Draft Plans


The Denver Broncos have a couple of pretty clear needs heading into the 2015 NFL Draft, starting up front on the offensive line. Most mock drafts right now are predicting the Broncos to take the best available player to play either right tackle, center, or maybe even tight end or defensive line.

But the most popular pick right now for the Broncos is to have them taking a right tackle, and I’m not so sure that’s going to be the direction they go unless that guy is able to play multiple positions up front, and there’s a reason for that.

That reason, of course, is 2014 third round pick Michael Schofield, who may be ready to take the next step and suit up on Sundays as the starting right tackle.

The Broncos have been vocal about their confidence in Schofield this offseason, and per an interview with the official team site, Schofield is taking advantage of that confidence by putting on some weight and getting himself as prepared as possible to win a starting job this offseason.

“It’s definitely a good feeling, especially after a disappointing [rookie] season where I didn’t get on the field,” Schofield said. “It’s nice to hear that they still have that confidence in me and everything. It’s just making me work harder this offseason.”

Schofield has added 10 pounds and is up to 305, and he said he’s prepared for more of the zone blocking scheme due to the fact that they had installed plenty of those concepts while he was the right tackle at Michigan.

More from Predominantly Orange

And that’s what he’ll be until proven otherwise. John Elway stated at this year’s Combine that Schofield was a right tackle, that they have a need at that position, and that he basically can fill it. Schofield echoed those sentiments in that same interview with

“As a taller guy with the arm length (34 inches) and everything, it helps at the tackle spot, with the reach and everything,” he said. “I feel like I’m an athletic offensive lineman, and you’ve got to be pretty athletic at tackle, especially with how the defensive ends are nowadays.”

The combination of what John Elway has said and what Schofield is saying lead me to believe the Broncos might not be so quick to pull the trigger on a right tackle in the first round. They need to make sure they aren’t just throwing Schofield to the side as a backup tackle right away, because investing in a first round tackle means the guy is going to play.

Unless Schofild or that guy who is drafted are going to be playing left guard, it seems like one is a wasted selection.

Obviously, third round picks like Schofield don’t come with the same expectations as a guy drafted in the first round would, but having flexibility to go another direction is something the Broncos need. Obviously, Schofield is someone the team really liked last year. They made him a top 100 pick and even though if he had gone just a handful of picks later, the expectations would have been totally different, he didn’t. The Broncos used a third round pick on him, one of their premiere selections last year, so Schofield — like Cody Latimer — needs to be expected to make a giant leap this season.

And if you read between the lines, it appears the Broncos agree.

So, when you’re making your mock drafts this next month, don’t get fooled into thinking the Broncos need to draft a right tackle. In fact, you might even start looking at the best options that aren’t strictly right tackles.

Perhaps a tackle that can also play guard will be in the mix. The development of Schofield could prompt the Broncos to trade up for one of the best guard/tackle hybrid players in this draft like LSU’s La’El Collins or Iowa’s Brandon Scherff.

In fact, that wouldn’t surprise me at all.

It could also prompt the Broncos to wait on taking an offensive lineman until round two, where the position is extremely deep, and use their first rounder on a defensive lineman, linebacker, or another position.

Whatever the case, it really feels like Schofield’s development is going to control a lot of the strategy for the Broncos in the draft, even though they will say they’re just looking for the best player on the board.

The offensive line will be addressed, but don’t be surprised if it’s in a different way than you expect.

Next: New 7-Round Broncos Mock Draft