Rookie minicamp preview: M. Schofield

May, 14, 2014
May 14
7:30
AM ET
The Denver Broncos will bring their draft class into their Dove Valley complex this coming weekend for a three-day, welcome-to-the-show rookie minicamp.

All of the first-year players will get their indoctrination into the Broncos' way on all things football. So, at Step 1 in their quest to earn a roster spot to go with some playing time in the regular season, it's a good time to look at the prospects for each of those players in the six-player draft class.

Today: Third-round pick Michael Schofield.

What does he bring to the table: Talk to scouts and personnel executives around the league and when they see “Michigan," and "50 games" and "offensive lineman" on a guy's resume, they're most likely going to take a long look.

Traditionally, Michigan's long-time starters are well-schooled and those who have that much experience usually find a way to become productive players on an NFL roster. Schofield, who was the 12th tackle selected in this year's draft, played in 52 games overall with 36 starts for the Wolverines.

He has a huge frame at 6-foot-6 1/2-inches tall, and the Broncos believe he can easily add weight. Schofield, who was 301 pounds at the combine, said this past weekend he believes he could still add 10 to 15 pounds and maintain his current movement skills.

Schofield is a technically sound player who gets his hands in the right spot and consistently anchors well in pass protection. He also projects as a right tackle in the Broncos' offense with the possibility of filling in at guard if needed.

Prospects for playing time: The Broncos would like to try Orlando Franklin at left guard because they believe, over the long haul, it will improve the team's play in the offensive front if they can be more physical in the middle of the formation.

But to make it work, they will need to replace Franklin at right tackle, where he has been a starter since his rookie season in 2011. They would be comfortable with Chris Clark, who filled in for Ryan Clady after Clady's season-ending foot injury in Week 2, on the right side.

But when the Broncos drafted Schofield with the 95th pick, it was with the idea he had the make-up to offer a potential option at right tackle. The Broncos had gone into the draft hoping to have a shot at one of the tackles on their board who they believed could step in and play on the right side.

Schofield was one of those guys, but he had a bit an uphill battle. Franklin is one of just three offensive linemen selected in John Elway's three previous drafts and he's also the only one to have convinced the coaching staff, with his play, he should be in the lineup as a rookie.

"I see myself more of an offensive tackle just because that is what I've played most of my career throughout high school and throughout college," Schofield said. “One thing I was trying to prove through this whole draft process was that I can play multiple positions. Wherever the Broncos will need me, I can play for them.”

Biggest hurdle to playing time: He has the frame for the job and his game video shows a savvy blocker with good awareness of what's going on around him. He plays with toughness and flashed some edginess in his game in that when he locks on to a defender he stays with it until the play is over.

The bridge for him to cross will be to handle outside speed from the rushers across from him, particularly when the Broncos are in a three-wide receiver set with the tight end out wide in the formation as well. Sometimes when the end across from him goes hard to the corner in the pass rush and then counters quickly to the inside, he has gotten himself out of sorts.

The bottom line: Overall, this is a player with the chops to challenge for a starting job. If he can adapt quickly to the team's playbook and show the Broncos he can anchor in pass protection and move people in the run game, he could be a legitimate option to start on the right side.

Jeff Legwold

ESPN Denver Broncos reporter

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