Derek Wolfe

Don Wassall

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Wolfe has been even better so far than Denver hoped when they drafted him early in the second round in April (much to the chagrin of many draft "experts" and DWFs who couldn't understand why he was taken so early). He's going to start at end and also play some tackle. I expect Derek to be among the league leaders in tackles among linemen right from the get-go in his rookie year, and he should also make a fair number of big plays (sacks, forced fumbles, tackles for loss, etc.)

Denver opens up the season against Pittsburgh, which is a great matchup given it will be the Crawfords' ballyhooed defense against Peyton Manning in his first regular season game since 2010. Watch for Wolfe to make his presence felt against the Crawfords' woeful offensive line. He's country strong and, yes, he has a "non-stop motor" to go with it.
 

Thrashen

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Wolfe has been even better so far than Denver hoped when they drafted him early in the second round in April (much to the chagrin of many draft "experts" and DWFs who couldn't understand why he was taken so early). He's going to start at end and also play some tackle. I expect Derek to be among the league leaders in tackles among linemen right from the get-go in his rookie year, and he should also make a fair number of big plays (sacks, forced fumbles, tackles for loss, etc.)

Denver opens up the season against Pittsburgh, which is a great matchup given it will be the Crawfords' ballyhooed defense against Peyton Manning in his first regular season game since 2010. Watch for Wolfe to make his presence felt against the Crawfords' woeful offensive line. He's country strong and, yes, he has a "non-stop motor" to go with it.

There is a lot to admire about Derek Wolfe, even before considering his immense football talents. His amazing life story includes being homeless, having an absentee father and a flake for a mother, bouncing around and living with friends and relatives for his entire life, and being so poor, even during his days at Cincinnati, that he even considered entering the draft a year early…

Derek J. Wolfe was born February. 24, 1990 in Lisbon, Ohio and is the son of Dennis Wolfe. He is 22 years old and is believed to currently reside with his grandmother, Kim Wolfe. Derek is from a rural town called Negley, Ohio a town which is close to Pennsylvania. His hometown of Negley, Ohio, is 1 mile from Pennsylvania, 10 miles from West Virginia and about 40 minutes from Pittsburgh. Wolfe never was a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and said he can't wait to play Pittsburgh on Sept. 9. He is the first Beaver Local graduate to get drafted and the first Mahoning Valley native selected this year.

The Broncos' newest defensive tackle has a story made for the movies. Not quite as extreme as that of Michael Oher, the homeless kid who became an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens and inspired the movie The Blind Side, but pretty close.

Derek Wolfe doesn't remember being homeless, exactly. He does remember staying at various friends' houses growing up in Lisbon, Ohio. The closest he came to family were the sisters of his stepfather, not blood relatives but women who helped out when they could. He remembers one of them providing Christmas presents when he was little.

"I've never met my real father," Wolfe told the Cincinnati Enquirer last summer as he prepared for his senior season at the University of Cincinnati. "I couldn't even tell you his name."

That fact contributed to his estrangement from his mother. "My mom just won't tell me anything about him," he said then. "I guarantee he doesn't even know I exist. I've given my mom chances and chances and chances, but she obviously has some issues.

"I lived with my mother only when she was married to my stepfather. My mother married him when I was only about three months old, but after they got divorced, I moved out and lived with him. My stepfather and I got along well when I was young, and even after he got divorced from my mom, but when he got remarried, that's when everything fell apart."

Wolfe's best friend was a kid named Logan Hoppel. "His family told me if I ever needed a place to stay, I could stay with them."

When he found himself a child on his own, he took the Hoppels up on their offer. For the rest of his childhood, he stayed with various friends. Getting him to adulthood became sort of a community project. He credits "the whole town" for helping raise him as a teenager.

"That's who I was raised by, is my friends," Wolfe told DP Saturday just after his introductory press conference at Dove Valley. "I have great friends. They're like brothers to me. Anytime I needed advice or needed some structure, they gave it to me. I can't pick one out. I have a lot of friends, a lot of families. I've got two aunts that helped me a lot. There's a ton of families that helped me; my whole town."

As it happened, Hoppel had an older cousin, Adam, who ended up playing football at the University of Cincinnati. Wolfe didn't know it at the time, but the generosity of his friend's family had set him on a career path.

"My childhood, it was what it was, and it formed me into the man I am today," Wolfe said less than 24 hours after the Broncos made the 6-foot-5-inch, 300-pound defensive tackle their first pick in the 2012 draft, No. 36 overall.

"It's never where you start, it's always where you finish. Just like the draft. I may not have been a first-round pick, but I was their first pick. Now I've got to live up to that. I'm happy about it. I could dwell on the past if I wanted to, but what is that going to do? Just forgive and forget. That's the way I like to look at it. If you sit around worrying about things, it's just going to tear you down and tear you apart."

As far back as he can remember, football was his escape from a life that was hard and frustrating in almost every other area. When asked when he started playing, he knew exactly.

"I was seven. I liked to watch Reggie White. Don't tell Mr. Elway this, but I liked Brett Favre. I wanted to be a quarterback and a defensive end. So that's what I did. I played quarterback and defensive end my first year. Then they moved me to running back. I played running back until I got to like eighth grade or something.

"I actually cried when Elway beat us. Wait, I can't say 'us' anymore. When we beat them. I was going to write hate mail to Mr. Elway because I was so upset. I told him that upstairs, too. I said, 'You made me cry when I was eight years old.' He just laughed at me and said, 'Well, welcome to the good side.'"

It didn't take Wolfe long to realize that playing football was what he wanted to do. His only other sport was wrestling, and he wrestled mainly to achieve better body control for football.

"When I was a junior in high school, I was like, 'I want to play this forever; I don't ever want to stop,'" he said. "Once I really started focusing on players and what to do, I started watching guys like J.J. Watt, guys like Justin Smith, just those guys that played every snap like it's their last. Those are the guys I watched."

Which is exactly what the Broncos saw in him -- a motor that never stops. Some scouts have issues with him, which is why it was something of a surprise when the Broncos took him ahead of better-known defensive linemen such as Kendall Reyes of Connecticut, Jerel Worthy of Michigan State and Devon Still of Penn State. Not athletic enough, some say. Doesn't deal well with double teams. Short arms.

The Broncos love his fire, his will to compete.

"On some testing things we do, he's a high character guy and a guy that I think will bring a great attitude to our defense," coach John Fox said.

"His background, you can see it in the way he plays," Elway said.

"He's really hungry," Fox added.

"And that's what makes him the player that he is," Elway said. "And that's why he'll make us hungry on defense and he's going to rub off on a lot of guys because he's got a motor that doesn't stop."

A year ago, Wolfe almost made what he calls now "the worst decision of my life." He nearly left school a year early to enter the draft, mainly to get a paycheck and escape poverty. He remembers sitting on his bed staring at seven dollars, all the money he had in the world.

"It was just like a breaking point," he explained. "I was hungry. I was a month late on rent. Thank God one of my best friend's mom owned the house we were staying at. I was just looking at it, like, 'Seven bucks? Come on.' I always have somebody I can go to, I'm never going to be without, but it's like, when is enough enough? I'm tired of asking for things, you know? I'm tired of having to go ask my friend. It's demoralizing when you have to do that because I'm a very private person. I don't like asking for anything. So it hurts when you have to do stuff like that. I was just tired of it."

Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones used the most practical of arguments to change his mind: He told him he'd be costing himself a bundle by coming out early.

"I decided I came this far, why stop now?" Wolfe said. "Why cut it short? Why not just ride it out? I can do one more year, grinding and eating nothing but what they give me, basically. It all worked out." By returning to school for 2011, he significantly boosted his draft stock and secured future earnings.

Adam Hoppel, whom he followed to the University of Cincinnati, was signed to the Cleveland Browns' practice squad for a while but never played in a regular season game. Wolfe, the kid his family took in, now has a chance to compete for a starting job on the Broncos' defensive line. How his skills play out remains to be seen, but he will never need motivation.

"If you could see my area, it's dead," Wolfe said. "There's not a lot going on. I was on my own for a little while and I didn't have anything. That's the best way I can say it. Growing up, I didn't have anything. It was hard to get cleats sometimes. It was hard to get wrestling shoes. It was hard to do anything. You had to fight for everything you had. That's why I fight so hard. I'll play this game as long as I possibly can because it's my escape from what's really going on."

I could see Wolfe becoming the NFL’s premiere defensive tackle in 2-3 years time.
 
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There is a lot to admire about Derek Wolfe, even before considering his immense football talents. His amazing life story includes being homeless, having an absentee father and a flake for a mother, bouncing around and living with friends and relatives for his entire life, and being so poor, even during his days at Cincinnati, that he even considered entering the draft a year early…



I could see Wolfe becoming the NFL’s premiere defensive tackle in 2-3 years time.

Have you got a link for this story? It's full of interesting points, many of which are already in bold. Wolfe's description of being down to his last $7.00 is really eloquent. Also, the "short arms" knock on him (and Wolfe's arm length is more like average, not short) is easy to decipher: I'm sure that was Mel Kiper, Jr, as he has an arm-length fetish. Honestly, the whole thing sounds like screen play fodder for Hollywood, but for the one, obvious problem. Barring injury, Wolfe will be a force at DT or DE.
 

TwentyTwo

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Thanks Trashen for that article...What a story!

I'm sure any dwf's reading my post here on the College Football forum over a year back thought i was reaching when saying "Wolfe could be a Late 1st to Mid 2nd round draft pick". Gotta like him talking about Justin Smith & J.J. Watt!!

Derek Wolfe should be on the NFL All-Rookie team after this season ends!
 

Don Wassall

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Wolfe had a good rookie season, but I expect he'll be better next year. He has the power to be a dominant end. Even though the snippet below lists him as a tackle, his position at Cincinnati, he played mostly end in 2012.


The draft class

DT Derek Wolfe
— Wolfe closed out the regular season with his sixth sack of the year. That's the highest total for a Broncos rookie defensive lineman since Elvis Dumervil in '06 when he had 8 ½ sacks in his rookie season. Wolfe finished with 903 defensive snaps for the season — 84.4 percent of the team's total — second only to Dumervil's 922 snaps among the team's defensive linemen. Wolfe also knocked down a pass against the Chiefs and had sacks in the Broncos' last three regular-season games.

http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_22306450/broncos-rookie-report-derek-wolfe-finishes-season-six
 

Don Wassall

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Hopefully Wolfe will become a full-fledged star this season after his successful rookie year. I can see him reaching double digits in sacks but also having a lot of tackles, which is a very rare combination in a d-lineman.

Broncos like what Derek Wolfe did in 2012 but are pushing for more

When it comes to football, Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio worries only about the bottom line.

No muss, no fuss and as little maybe, might or could as possible. Just deliver.

And when it comes to Derek Wolfe, it's not the position next to Wolfe's name that matters to Del Rio. It's how Wolfe plays, how the second-year defensive linemen handles what Del Rio is throwing at him.

"What Derek did for us last season has been underappreciated on many levels," Del Rio said. "I know we list him as (a defensive) end, but for what he does in our defense, he plays a significant number of snaps, maybe most of his snaps — 70, 75 percent — at (defensive) tackle. So, take that into account, and I think that gives you a far better picture of what he did last season.

"And we want more. He knows that, he accepts it and he wants more too."

The Broncos drafted Wolfe as the 36th pick in 2012. When scouts looked at him before that draft, they saw a player who won matchups no matter where he lined up in the defensive line.The Broncos liked that too, to be sure, but they liked Wolfe's intensity, desire and drive to improve even more. And even as he goes through the shorts-and-T-shirts training sessions of this offseason, the Broncos say he has done just that.

"Wolfe is coming into his own right now," Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson said. "With that being said, I think he's taking more of a leadership role. He's coming on to where he's being more verbal, and really not just verbal, he's showing it with his actions too. That's always a plus when the guy is not just walking and talking, he's showing it too."

Del Rio agrees, saying: "Anytime a young man has tremendous success, which he did, and he comes back hungry for more, that bodes well for everybody involved. We're happy about the way he's approaching it."

Wolfe started every game as a rookie for a 13-3 team that finished with the NFL's No. 2 defense overall and No. 4 scoring defense. His six sacks were tied with New England Patriots outside linebacker Chandler Jones for most among the league's rookies.

To add perspective, the only players who played primarily at defensive tackle to have more sacks were the Cincinnati Bengals' Geno Atkins (12½) and the Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh (eight).

"As far as defensive tackles go, if you looked at their numbers and looked at what (Wolfe) did last year, which is really relative to what he does where he should be listed, he had a heck of a year," Del Rio said. "He wants to build on that."

As for his leadership abilities, Wolfe said the Broncos' defense focuses more on doing than talking.

"Our defense, we don't have to talk," Wolfe said. "We have each other's back. That's what it comes down to. And when somebody's falling behind, they just look around and see that nobody else is falling behind, so they better pick it up. We don't need all that rah-rah screaming stuff; just do your job and get it done well."

Wolfe is working through the Broncos' full offseason program for the first time. After last spring's draft, Wolfe could not participate in the Broncos' offseason conditioning program or organized team activities (OTAs) because of school commitments. He arrived in time for some of the Broncos' mandatory minicamp, but he wasn't able to work with the coaches in earnest until the start of training camp.

So, this time around he has tried to make the most of it — and help rookie down lineman Sylvester Williams, the Broncos' first-round pick this past April, find his way.

"He's got a ton of potential, and he wants to learn," Wolfe said. "So I just tell him, 'Hey, just come with (me).' When we're lifting, he's with me, and on the sidelines, he comes over and he stands by me."

"You want to see a player step forward like that," Del Rio said. "Derek has done that, but we feel like there's more to come."

Jeff Legwold: jlegwold@denverpost.com or twitter.com/jeff_legwold

http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_23389138/broncos-like-what-derek-wolfe-did-2012-but
 

Don Wassall

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Looks like Derek Wolfe will be ready for the regular season when it looked initially like he might be out for the year:


Derek Wolfe said he’ll be back on the football field soon. The Denver Broncos hope fellow starters Champ Bailey, Wes Welker, Louis Vasquez and Stewart Bradley will be there with him.

All were hurt in Denver’s 40-10 preseason loss at Seattle on Saturday night.

Wolfe accompanied his teammates on their flight home after being whisked from the field in an ambulance after a scary scene in which he lay prone on the field for a few minutes following a hit to his head and neck.

Medical staff strapped him to a backboard and sent him to a hospital for evaluation of a possible cervical spine injury. X-rays, CT scans and MRI exams were all negative.

“Thanks for the prayers everyone, ill be okay and will be back on the field soon . . .” Wolfe tweeted Sunday, an off day for the players.

The Broncos are counting on the second-year pro who had six sacks from the tackle position as a rookie to help fill the void if all-pro linebacker Von Miller loses his appeal this week and has to sit out all of September for violating the league’s drug-abuse policy.

full article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sport...1c02d0-0851-11e3-b87c-476db8ac34cd_story.html
 

Don Wassall

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More positive news on Derek Wolfe:


Derek Wolfe put in a full upper body workout in the weight room on Thursday, then the Denver Broncos defensive lineman thanked his teammates and fans for their prayers and well wishes after he was taken via ambulance from CenturyLink Field in Seattle last weekend.

Wolfe said he hopes to be back in the lineup by Denver’s Sept. 5 opener against Baltimore, less than three weeks after fears that he had suffered a cervical spine injury.

“It’s amazing how much you don’t like to practice until you can’t do it anymore,†Wolfe said. “And it’s real humbling whenever you can’t really feel your extremities for a while.

“I get a little emotional about it because this is what I love to do and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything but this game.â€

Wolfe said he holds no grudge against Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson, who slammed into him after he’d been cut by Seattle’s Luke Wilson on a running play. Wolfe’s head and neck were compressed by the hit and he lay on the turf for a couple of minutes in the silent stadium before being strapped to a backboard and being taken to a hospital.

http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/aug/23/wolfe-eyes-return-for-broncos-opener/
 

Thrashen

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Here is the hit that jammed Wolfe’s neck, which occurred when he was getting cut-blocked and FB Michael Robinson hit him while his head was ducked…

[video=youtube;EL9nLyAT1ww]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EL9nLyAT1ww[/video]

Thank God he’s OK. He’ s humble, rag-to-riches story with the talent to become the NFL’s finest defensive tackle.
 

FootballDad

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Here's the latest on Derek (lone) Wolfe, who will likely miss the next Broncos game as well due to a very weird, bigunreal-flavored condition:
Broncos LE Derek Wolfe was released from the hospital Monday.


Per the Denver Post, a battery of tests have still not revealed exactly why Wolfe suffered a seizure-like episode on the team bus Friday afternoon. He's not expected to play in this week's game against the Titans. "Right now we're not thinking about his availability or any of that stuff," coach John Fox said. "We're just concerned about his health, and medical people are working through that as we speak."
 
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