Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles’ epic season earns Top 100 nod

Garett Bolles, Left Tackle #72 for the Denver Broncos. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Garett Bolles, Left Tackle #72 for the Denver Broncos. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Just a year ago, Garett Bolles’ future in Denver was very uncertain. After an extremely rocky 2019 season, we saw the left tackle from Utah as one of the most penalized linemen, accounting for 10. That same season, Bolles single-handedly cost the Denver Broncos nearly the entire fields’ length of penalty yardage.

After an especially rough game in Chicago Week 2, it was a long season of fans wondering if Bolles was a bust, after all. When he did not develop as quickly as Broncos Country hoped after his first-round selection in 2017, there was panic.

Following the 2019 season, Bolles knew his job security in Denver was in jeopardy, and that he’d have to put on a show in 2020 to turn his career around.

And put on a show, he did.

In 2020, Garett Bolles looked like a new man. Refined and disciplined, Bolles allowed zero sacks and only accounted for four penalties on the season, a vast improvement from ten. Finishing the season with the highest pass-blocking grade among all tackles, Bolles was the only Bronco to earn a spot as an All-Pro, earning a spot on the second team. Shockingly, especially after his All-Pro nod, Bolles was snubbed on the Pro Bowl selection.

However, Garett Bolles has earned another accolade after his dominant 2020 performance. Today, NFL Network began showing their NFL Top 100 Players for 2021, often reflecting on performances from the 2020 season. This list is voted on by the NFL players themselves, and this year, the peers of Garett Bolles recognized his contributions and voted him in as #82 on the list, his first appearance on the list.

It is refreshing to know that not only was Bolles’ performance noticed by his teammates and Broncos fans but it was also noticed by his NFL peers, many the most dominant at their own positions. Future Hall of Fame OLB Von Miller spoke on his teammates’ improvement prior to training camp: “He is the best left tackle in the league. If he’s not the best, he’s top three and he’s not #3. I’m so proud of him” (via

While offensive line guru Mike Munchak coming to Denver surely plays a role in the incredible story of Garett Bolles, it is Bolles himself who has worked as hard as he is and come such a long way to be playing at the level he is now.

Entering last season, Garett Bolles was faced with a choice. He either needed up his game in dramatic fashion or face a potential future outside of Denver, perhaps in a lower position on someone’s depth chart. In the face of adversity, Bolles didn’t let fear take over and stepped up to the challenge. Now, he is one of the best in the game.

Teammate safety Justin Simmons, also playing at a very high level, is a guest commentator on the NFL Top 100, and had the perfect summary of Garett Bolles, especially speaking on his Pro Bowl snub, and giving a hint of what fans should look for in 2021 when it comes to the left tackle:

“If he keeps doing what he’s doing, that stuff will come. The sky is the limit for him.”