Throughout the offseason, we’ll be profiling players who may end up in Denver when all is said and done with the 2017 NFL Draft. The Broncos clearly have plenty of holes to fill before they get back to Super-Bowl form and we’ll be examining a long list of players they may choose to help the franchise do just that.
Throughout his entire football career, Antonio Garcia has got the job done. As a senior in high school he was named first-team All-State as a left tackle and then again as a senior in college was named first-team all-conference at the same position. Although he played in the Sun Belt Conference at Troy, Garcia possesses NFL traits and production to not only make it to the next level, but to potentially have a significant impact.
In what is viewed as a weak offensive tackle draft class, Garcia currently falls in the second tier of tackles. He is currently projected to be a third-round draft pick.
Garcia’s ability to hold down the left side of the offensive line starts with his excellent athleticism. As a former high school basketball player, Garcia brings great footwork and many athletic traits that typically don’t come with offensive tackles, including a 31 inch vertical. He uses his quick feet to always keep the defender in front of him and rarely gets beat by pass rush on the outside.
Garcia not only finds a way to get the job done, he finds a way to consistently be on the field as well. After missing half of his freshman year due to an injury, he started 36 of his final 37 games of his college career.
At 6-foot-6, 302 pounds, Garcia’s size is his biggest weakness at the next level. While offensive tackles in the NFL need to be at least 300-pounds, there are concerns that Garcia played significantly under 300 pounds during his time at Troy. If he isn’t able to add weight and keep it on, he won’t be able to succeed at the next level.
Due to his smaller size he lacks the strength that is needed on the line and this directly translates to the field. Although he is able to keep defenders in front of him, he often resorts to grabbing defenders to block them in power situations due to his lack of lower body strength. With a high pad level already, Garcia could be manhandled by stronger defenders in the NFL if both his upper and lower body strength is not addressed.
How he fits in Denver
Outside of his size—which is nothing to overlook—Garcia possesses a great base of attributes to build a NFL left tackle. With a gaping hole still present at left tackle for the Broncos, there is a very high chance that they will look to the draft to potentially fill this void. Since it is a weak tackle draft class, Denver could realistically choose a tackle in the first-round, but they could also wait until the second or third round to avoid reaching for a player.
If Denver selects Garcia he would have a chance to compete for the starting job his rookie year. What may end up determining if he gets the starting nod in September may come down to if he is able to get to, and maintain, NFL size. If he didn’t start his rookie year, the Broncos would groom him to be their left tackle of the future in a year or two down the road.