Derek Wolfe

Draft Grades: Denver Broncos

By signing Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos gave themselves a three-year window in which they can make a serious run at the Super Bowl. But their selections in this draft class raise some questions about the direction this franchise is headed.

Derek Wolfe was a reach in the early 2nd round. John Fox was clearly looking for a penetrating three-technique tackle but, while Wolfe is a decent athlete for his size, he lacks the consistency to warrant such a high pick. He’ll be plugged into a starting role immediately, but I question his ability to be effective. There were better options, such as Kendall Reyes, on the board.

The Brock Osweiler selection baffles me. For starters, it’s a reach in the 2nd round. He is a purely developmental prospect who needs significant work on this motion and his decision making ability. But what really concerns me is that fact that the Broncos used an early pick on Manning’s replacement when they could have added a playmaker to help Manning in his pursuit of of Super Bowl title.

The selection of Ronnie Hillman has drawn criticism from some, but I’m on board with the pick. Yes, there were better running backs still on the board, but the Broncos weren’t looking for starter here. They’re comfortable with another season of Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno, meaning Hillman will be relied upon as a change-of-pace back, and he’s more than capable of filling that role.

Omar Bolden is an injury risk, but I like the gamble in the 4th round. If healthy, he has an excellent chance to win the nickel corner job and could develop into a quality starter down the road.

Phillip Blake will be given an opportunity to compete with J.D. Walton for the starting job at center. And if Walton’s performance from 2011 continues, Blake will have an excellent chance to win the job. He could prove to be a steal in the 4th round.

Malik Jackson is another prospect who could prove to be a late-round steal. I only had him rated slightly lower than Derek Wolfe, and two prospects are similar in many ways. He primarily played both tackle and end at Tennessee, but is better suited to stay inside in Denver’s 4-3 defense.

Danny Trevathan was a playmaker at Kentucky and an extremely productive collegiate linebacker. However, he’s undersized and lacks the athleticism to make up for it. His upside is limited, but he has a decent chance to make the Broncos roster based on his potential to contribute on special teams.

Overall, this was a disappointing haul for the Broncos. They didn’t make too many extreme reaches, but they also failed to add immediate help for Manning. Even if Osweiler proves to be the heir apparent to Manning, if they won’t win during the Manning era, we’ll have to wonder if they missed an opportunity to upgrade the talent around him with that selection.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012 2 Comments

Draft Losers: Denver Broncos

When the Denver Broncos signed a 36-year-old future Hall of Famer to play quarterback, everyone assumed they were gearing up for a serious run at the Super Bowl. But this draft class tells a different story.

We'll be seeing a lot of this from Osweiler.

The Broncos only landed one  player, Derek Wolfe, who will compete for a starting job in 2012. They also only added one offensive weapon, Ronnie Hillman, who is nothing more than a 3rd-down back who will have to fight for carries with Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno.

But the most surprising selection was Brock Osweiler, who will be groomed as Manning’s eventually replacement. Osweiler is a nice developmental prospect, but in the late 2nd round the Broncos could have added another impact player who would actually help in their pursuit of a Super Bowl title during the Manning era.

It would be very interesting to hear Manning’s reaction to this draft class. He can’t be happy about the lack of support he’ll receive from the Broncos rookie class.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Broncos 1 Comment

Denver Broncos select Derek Wolfe, Grade C+

The Denver Broncos addressed an obvious area of weakness, and did so with a player who should be able to come in and be reasonably effective. However, Derek Wolfe was most definitely not the top defensive tackle on the board.

Brandon Thompson, Devon Still and possibly a few others should have come off the board before Wolfe, who isn’t the most physically gifted player and appeared to have some conditioning/stamina issues in the games I studied from his senior year.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Broncos Comments Off

Derek Wolfe scouting report

Derek Wolfe DT Cincinnati #95
Ht: 6’5″Wt: 295  
Strengths:
Adequate size and strength. Does a nice job staying low to hold his ground at the point of attack against the run. Does a nice job as a bull rusher considering his average size; strong legs allow him to continue to push his was into the backfield even when the offensive lineman gets into good position. Primarily lined up at three-technique tackle in 4-3 sets, but does have some experience at end in 3-4 sets.
Weaknesses:
Spends a ton of time on the ground; dives at the ball carrier too often, taking himself out of the play completely rather than attempting to make a play in pursuit. Lacks the speed (and possibly the stamina?) to make any plays in pursuit; rarely takes off down the field after the ball carrier. Gives a strong pass-rush effort on initial burst, but seems to lose steam quicker than most other interior pass rushers. Appears to wear down throughout the course of the game.
Comments:
Wolfe is a sort of a tackle/end ‘tweener. 4-3 teams will view him as a three-technique tackle, but he lacks the athleticism and ability to consistently pressure the quarterback that most teams prefer at that position these days. As a result, he may be better suited as a 3-4 end, where he’ll be able to hold his ground against the run and won’t be expected to pressure the quarterback as often.
Videos:
2011 vs Vanderbilt
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 2 Comments