The Broncos traded back and traded back at the beginning of the 2012 NFL draft until they finally selected defensive tackle Derek Wolfe with their first overall pick in the second round, 36th overall.
Due to NFL rules, no player is allowed to participate in NFL practices of any kind until his class graduates. Forget summer classes. Wolfe was simply waiting to walk in the University of Cincinnati’s ceremony. That’s why he wasn’t able to participate in many OTA’s.
“He’s going to be swimming for a while because of all that missed time,” defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said.
Wolfe comes to the Broncos with plenty of high expectations. The 6’5″, 300-pound tackle was the Big Easy co-defensive player of the year his senior year, and he’s fourth on the school’s all-time list with 19.5 sacks.
“He’s got natural finish on the quarterback ability,” Del Rio said. “He just has a way of being slippery when it’s time to rush the quarterback. We need some push inside from our tackles. I think he’ll be able to give us some of that.”
Wolfe is a guy who is hungry and intense.
“He’s a high-energy guy,” Del Rio said. “He’s going to be a load when he’s playing end. He’ll be a mismatch on tight ends. He can slide down and play tackle, and will do both. I like the way he started camp.”
The Broncos desperately needed some depth at defensive tackle last season. Veteran Ty Warren was lost for the season and the team just didn’t have enough fuel to clog the middle and stop the run.
Wolfe adds bulk, leadership, and firepower to the middle. He also has the opportunity to put up some good numbers his rookie year. With teams focused on Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil’s pass rush, Wolfe can really shine, and get some pressure on quarterbacks.
If you’re going to camp, keep an eye on Wolfe during team drills. He’s a guy to follow starting now.