Greetings, MHR!!! It's been quite awhile since I've posted on here, and I must say it feels good to be back. I remember the last time I posted, Broncos Country was taking in the events of the bizarre 2012 playoffs, in which we pulled off a magical victory against Pittsburgh, only to be manhandled and eviscerated a round later at the hands of the now inferior Patriots (what a fantastic thing to be able to finally say huh?). Anyway, because it's been so long since I've taken up the keyboard I thought it would be a fun idea to kind of reflect with a classic "Where are they now?" topic - one particularly focusing on Derek Wolfe and his past haters, as well as the rest of the "blue chip" defensive tackle prospects of the 2012 draft.
Flashback... It's April 26th, 2012, and you're on the edge of your seat. It's finally our time to shine in the 1st round. You've been waiting all afternoon for this mome-.. Looks like you'll have to wait a couple picks more. Elway just conjured up a trade with the team-that-must-not-be-named.
AHH, the 31st pick is finally here. Why do these teams take so damn long to submit their picks you ponder to yourself. Regardless, you glue your eyes to the screen once more to hear the announcement of our first pi-.. "WE'RE NOT PICKING UNTIL TOMORROW?! WE JUST GOT PFM AND WE'RE RELEGATING OURSELVES TO SECOND ROUND PROSPECTS??" your uncontrollable id cries. "FEAR NOT!" retaliates your ever-realistic ego, "This draft is one of the deepest in history. The front office knows what they're doing. Relax, and enjoy the show." And so you do enjoy the show, figuratively speaking. You don't particularly "enjoy" seeing the Bucs snatch up Dougie Martin, the multi-talented RB you wanted the Broncos to draft. But you enjoy the show, nevertheless...
It's tomorrow. It's the 36th pick. It's our pick. You've managed to find the silver lining since the day before. Maybe we're planning on taking a chance on Janoris Jenkins's reward, despite his risk? Or possibly shoring up our linebacking corps with the fascinating prospects that are Mychal Kendricks, Bobby Wagner, and Lavonte David.. Hmm. WAIT, LaMichael James is still available too; we're in a prime position! And of course, you can't forget about the defensive tackles everyone on MHR has been begging for all offseason, both of which are still available: Devon Still and Jerel Worthy. Yup, your mind has been made up. It HAS to be them. OH, here comes the pick! Defensive tackle, yes, Derek Wolfe, what..?! We traded back twice to grab this scrub from Cincinnati? Worthy and Still were available, what the hell Elway?! Where is this guy gonna be two years from now?!
Good question... Where is he now? Easily one of the most productive defensive tackles of his draft class. Of the 2012 draftees who play a similar position to Wolfe's, only Michael Brockers (9.5 sacks), Fletcher Cox (8.5 sacks), and Mike Daniels (8.5 sacks) have put up production close to Wolfe's. Furthermore, of those three, only Daniels was available at picks 25, 31, and 36. Wolfe adds positional versatility and solid run defense to his 10 sacks, a total achieved in the last two years despite missing the last SIX games of the 2013 season. All of the 2012 offseason I was a Worthy and Still hater, and in my last post I admitted as much, even calling Wolfe EFX's best available defensive tackle at their pick.
Where are they now? Still has amassed a grand total of 21 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and zero starts in two years. Even when Geno Atkins went down for the season Still was unable to win a single start. While Worthy showed some promise in his first year, he ended up appearing in only 2 games last year.
As far as the Elway and Wolfe haters go, where are THEY now? My friends, they are all among us. They reside in your households, they yell, "Go Broncos," to you every Friday at work during football season, just as you leave for the weekend. Wherever you go, it is impossible to tell who is who, but they are there. But this is how sports goes. This is what makes the game of football so amazing. Despite all our analysis and expectations there will always be an outlier, a player with something to prove. A player who can become a hero to the fan base. A player we can write about two years after his unheralded name is called and questioned, and think to ourselves, "Damn, this is an amazing, unpredictable game." Out of this unpredictability a situation can arise that breathes life into the fans across the world during the lulls of free agency. Now, Broncos Country, the bottom line is this: we are united in orange and blue, with the same common hopes and aspirations for our team.
May the odds be ever in our favor for the upcoming draft.