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Derek Wolfe: Season Two, Episode One

When the Denver Broncos let Elvis Dumervil walk, they left a hole where production used to be. Can Derek Wolfe and Co. step up to make fans say, 'Elvis who?'

Derek Wolfe will have quite the opportunity coming off the absence of Elvis Dumervil this season.
Derek Wolfe will have quite the opportunity coming off the absence of Elvis Dumervil this season.
Patrick Smith

Give me a minute here (and I am sorry Michelle Beadles), but --

Elvis has left the building hungry like a Wolfe...

At first there were two, now there is one member of my Wolfe pack...

Elvis Duma... Dumer... Dumer 'nough to leave for Baltimore (feel free to top that one in the comment section).

So Sophomore defensive end Derek Wolfe came to Denver as a 6'5", 295lbs. defensive tackle and currently stands a 6'5", 300lbs. defensive end with 40 career tackles, two pass deflections and six sacks (Houston Texans defensive end phenom J.J. Watt had 56 tackles, four pass deflections and five and a half sacks his rookie season; he is also the same exact size as Wolfe). Elvis Dumervil had eight and a half sacks his rookie season.

In 2012 Wolfe took 904 of the defensive snaps, Dumervil took 922 of the defensive snaps, the two took the lead the defensive line in snaps. With Dumervil's exit, Wolfe's time on the field likely won't change much as he played opposite Dumervil. However, his production should see a sharp increase just from adding an offseason alone.

There are two things that we have to assume going forward: one is that Wolfe will be better just given the experience he has coming into the second season and the other is that with Dumervil out, teams will be more eager to test whomever it is that ends up on the right side of the defensive line.

This spells bad news for Wolfe in particular in the beginning of the season. Offenses will be pecking at the weak point, but if the right side of the defense can not numb out there will be all star slam dunk competition with Von Miller and Wolfe as the early favorites.

Necessity breeds innovation and that's the interesting thing for Wolfe and the Denver defense in particular is that it has just been a given that pressure was coming from the Broncos' defense via both sides of the line. Now, there is an overwhelming amount of power coming from the strong side and we're not quite sure what we have at this moment on the weak side.

Does it spell necessity in the draft or does it spell necessity within the ranks of the current Broncos' roster? That likely won't be determined for some months. In the meantime we have debate:

  • Should Wolfe be swapped over to Dumervil's former position or stay on the same side as last season?
  • Given the way that Robert Ayers finished off the 2011 season (three sacks in two games to finish the year) and the fact that it is a contract season for him, should he be awarded the main opportunity at the position?
  • Can we look to someone else on the roster, like Malik Jackson to step up?
  • Or take a rookie early and hope that it pans out?