- Jeff Legwold, ESPN Denver Broncos reporter
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Looking from the outside in, it certainly appears as if the Denver Broncos want offensive linemen who can work from the outside in.
As in tackles who could be guards, if needed, to go with guards who could be centers, if needed.
"That’s how we look at it," executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway said. "It’s always more difficult for a guy to go from the inside out. We’d like that flexibility on our roster with guys who can play on the outside and move down inside if we need them to or that’s the best alignment for us."
And with visions of the 2014 season still dancing in the Broncos’ heads, when they indeed took one of the league’s best interior offensive linemen in Louis Vasquez and moved him outside to right tackle to try and repair a struggling line, the team’s approach in the draft reflected that move and their desire not to have to make another one like it any time soon. To move an All-Pro guard in Vasquez outside as a stop-gap measure for a Super Bowl hopeful revealed a rather large roster hole.
The Broncos used two of their first four picks in the draft -- a second-rounder and a fourth-rounder to select tackle Ty Sambrailo and center/guard Max Garcia, respectively -- on two players they believe can adjust to what’s needed.
Initially Sambrailo will work at right tackle and Garcia will work at both center and guard. Elway has already said the two could "come in and compete for jobs right away."
"I’m listed as a center/guard, but I feel like I can be anywhere in between," Garcia said. "So that’s where I’m going to play at. Just wherever they want me; it doesn’t matter. I can play either one. That’s why they drafted me because I am versatile at those spots."
Sambrailo, like Michael Schofield in last year’s draft, is a player the Broncos believe could play guard and that Garcia could be a potential fit at either center or left guard. Sambarilo and Schofield, who was a third-round pick in last year’s draft and then a game-day inactive throughout the season, will compete at the right tackle spot.
Chris Clark also will be in the mix. Clark was benched last season when Vasquez was moved into the right tackle spot in Week 10. Elway has said Schofield has the potential to play guard as well, so there is a scenario where Sambrailo and Schofield fill the right tackle and left guard spots, depending on which player the Broncos first tab at right tackle.
Sambrailo said he believes the Broncos selected him with the idea he could find his way into the starting lineup quickly.
"That’s the goal. That’s why I’m here, to play," Sambrailo said. "Coming in right away and being able to compete at any position, I know [Elway] talked about right tackle being the spot I’ll compete for initially. Just having the flexibility to play, whatever I need to do -- at the end of the day, you need to put your best five offensive linemen out there no matter what. If I’m one of the keys in the cog to help make that happen, that will be it."
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak called Sambrailo and Garcia each "a quick study," something that could serve them well in the transition in the new offense. Garcia, who started games at tackle, guard and center in his collegiate career, was also a team captain at Florida this past season despite having played just two seasons at the school after transferring from Maryland.
"But those two young men, they played a lot of places, they played in a lot of games and then I’ll go back to the thing I said earlier, we think we have two guys that are way ahead of the curve mentally as far as scheme, our calls and what we’re going to ask them to do," Kubiak said. “So, we think that puts them in a competitive situation, a competitive environment and a chance to help us quicker than maybe some other players could."
Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak called draft picks Ty Sambrailo and Max Garcia each 'a quick study.'