The Denver Broncos made a bold move when they moved up in the second round to select wide receiver Cody Latimer. In the third round, the team played it safe with the selection of offensive tackle Michael Schofield.
He’s known as a position versatile player who can play multiple positions in the pros. Schofield started 36 games at Michigan with 26 at right tackle and 10 at left guard. It will be interesting to see where he practices and plays at now that he’s with the Broncos.
Schofield had some good things to say about joining a Super Bowl contender: “That’s the best possible situation for anyone. That’s a dream coming into the NFL. A team right in Super Bowl contention, especially a great organization like the Broncos and a quarterback like Peyton Manning. It’s a dream come true.”
General manager John Elway highlighted Schofield’s versatility.
“It gives us a lot of different options," he said. "With the offensive line there we’re depending on what we do with [OL] Orlando [Franklin] and if he can stay there, but we’re going to look at all of the different options. With his versatility he’ll start at tackle and move inside and play some guard also. We’re going to be playing with a bunch of different combinations, and by the end, I’m sure we’ll come out with the best combination.”
Elway concluded, “Nothing is in concrete, but Mike was just a guy that brings great competition and athletic and has done it.”
The team has a need on the offensive line after losing Zane Beadles in free agency to the Jacksonville Jaguars. This has created a spot at left guard that could be filled in a number of different ways.
There have been discussions about moving last year’s starting right tackle, Orlando Franklin, inside to left guard. Franklin sometimes played inside at guard during his college days at the University of Miami. He’s open to the transition, and that may be the team’s best option.
They are going to have a competition at center between last year’s starter, Manny Ramirez, and free-agent addition Will Montgomery. If Montgomery wins the starting job, Ramirez could be moved back to his more natural position of guard.
If Franklin successfully makes the transition to left guard, then there will be a hole at right tackle. Most think last year’s starting left tackle for most of the season, Chris Clark, could just swing over to the right side in Franklin’s spot.
With the addition of Schofield, the Broncos have another player who could compete for the starting right tackle spot. However, they also have another player who could compete for the starting left guard position as well.
Schofield is huge, measuring in at 6’7”, 301 pounds. He’s an imposing figure on the offensive line, and he’s further intimidating because of his attitude. Schofield is known as an aggressive player who loves to rough up an opponent.
He knows how to use his large frame to anchor properly as a pass-blocker. Simply put, Schofield is tough to move when he gets his feet set. Protecting Manning is priority No. 1 for Denver, and Schofield will deny an opponent trying to get after the quarterback.
In addition to his strong base, Schofield has a large wingspan, which helps him control opponents.
His aggression on the field helps Schofield as a run-blocker. He’s got the size to be a force, and he understands how to use patience and leverage to beat his man. Schofield knows how to properly bend, and he rarely gets out of position when asked to get a push up front for his running back.
There are times when Schofield is too patient. He’ll wait for an opponent to make a move, and he’ll struggle to be light on his feet. This will cause him to reach sometimes in pass protection.
Schofield also struggles to be a sticky blocker at the second level. This means he’ll struggle to pull and be a factor in space. He struggles with athleticism in space, and that will be something he needs to work on now that he’s a pro.
This is an unknown answer. The team needs Schofield for depth at both guard and tackle. It’s unclear whether or not he’ll be a serious contender for a starting job at either position.
What is clear is that Schofield can be relied on as a developmental prospect. The team has some raw talent to work with as Schofield has good size and a large wingspan. Schofield’s technique needs to be refined if he’s going to be an eventual starter for the Broncos.
That starting job could be this year, but that is unlikely with the veteran depth in front of him already. The starting job could be next year or the year after that. The only thing that is clear is the Broncos' belief that he can be an impact player.
They would not have taken him in the third round if they felt he was not worth the investment.
The Broncos added a decent player with Schofield. The raw tools like size, strength and wingspan are there, but he’s not a finished product.
With a little polishing to his game, Schofield could one day find himself as a starter on the offensive line.
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