Derek Wolfe made a big impact in his rookie year. He amassed 40 tackles and six sacks in all 16 games for the Denver Broncos.
“He’s not happy with it—it’s not enough for him,” defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said of Wolfe. “He wants more, which is great.”
Von Miller gave Wolfe more credit than what we see in the stats sheets.
“I probably took about three or four sacks away from Derek Wolfe,” Miller said. “If you add that on to his total, I think he was up there in double-digits. He had an amazing rookie season and I think the way he’s been working this offseason—he’s already a leader now.”
Del Rio also thinks that Wolfe will surface as a leader.
“A young guy last year that really it was hard for him to be a leader, but he emerged as the year went on, was Derek Wolfe,” Del Rio said after mentioning Champ Bailey and Wesley Woodyard among the team’s defensive leaders. “I think you’ll see Derek take a more active role as a leader on our defense this year.”
The 6-5, 300-pound defensive end plays most of his snaps at defensive tackle. That’s why when you look at the numbers he put up in his rookie year, it’s that much more impressive.
Wolfe can easily increase his sack total from last season. With extra attention on Miller (18.5 sacks in 2012) and newcomer Shaun Phillips (9.5 sacks), Wolfe will often be left with the one-on-one matchup. The Broncos also have Woodyard (5.5 sacks), and Robert Ayers, who will be making a huge push to make this his big year.
It’s exciting to have a very young vocal leader on the field. Miller admitted that he’s not that for the Broncos.
“That’s not me. I like to talk to my teammates but I’m not really one of those guys, ‘Step up! Everybody come on!’ That’s not me. That’s never been me. I like to get on the field and produce, make plays, let my actions on the field speak for me.”
Wolfe gets on the proverbial bullhorn and rallies the team or focuses individuals having a rough game. That’s worth three to four sacks right there.