Four words from Andrew Mason at DenverBroncos.com were enough to get me jacked up.
“Derek Wolfe is back.”
Not only is that good to read in a literal sense as Wolfe suffered some scary health incidents last season, his second with the Broncos, it’s also good to read in the sense that the Broncos were looking at an up-and-coming stud after Wolfe’s six-sack rookie season.
The former Big East Defensive Player of the Year was somewhat of a surprise pick for the Broncos in the early portion of the 2nd round back in 2012, and even more surprising was their decision to put him at strong-side defensive end. Wolfe played defensive tackle in college primarily but used his strength and quickness to make a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Now, at his highest playing weight ever in the professional ranks, Wolfe is ready to get back on the progress train he was riding in his rookie season. Everything changed for Wolfe when he suffered a scary neck injury against the Seahawks in last year’s pre-season, but now he has a shot at a new start.
In Mason’s camp report, he notes that Wolfe has generated consistent pressure and stood out enough to make his camp notebook. This is a player the Broncos are counting on to return to his starting role at the LDE position, but Wolfe’s versatility could allow him to play all around the defensive line.
With last year’s emergence of Malik Jackson, Denver has the opportunity to be creative with their packages and get these young playmakers on the field. Jackson’s versatility will allow the Broncos to use a variety of packages and player groupings without losing much at all. They can go really big with a combo of something like this: Wolfe – Knighton – Williams – Jackson, or they can go with something a little bit smaller overall like: Q.Smith – Wolfe – Jackson – Ware.
The options are endless at this point, and it’s great to hear that Wolfe is back. This is a player who works so hard at his craft, so hard at staying in shape, and being the best player he can be. Those types of guys simply succeed in the NFL, and I have no doubt that Wolfe is going to be back ruining opposing offensive gameplans this season.