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Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Broncos want Derek Wolfe to lead pack

By Bill Williamson

One of the most talked about Denver Broncos in the offseason workout sessions has been second-year defensive lineman Derek Wolfe.

The second-round pick became an instant impact player last season and he was a big part of the No. 2 overall defense in the NFL. Now in his second season, the team is pumping up Wolfe as a player who will take on a more vital role and become a leader to help replace Elvis Dumervil, who is now in Baltimore after the infamous fax machine fiasco.

Derek Wolfe
The Broncos are looking for Derek Wolfe to fill some of the leadership void created by Elvis Dumervil's departure.
Even though it is not common for second-year players to take on a huge leadership position, star linebacker Von Miller said Wolfe has taken to the role naturally.

“There really is not too much that I have to say to him,” Miller said. “Coming out here when we started OTAs [organized team activities], he was already first and the leader in the group out of Year 2. I talked to him about (Houston’s) J.J. Watt and the jump that he had from Year 1 to Year 2. I think he can do the same type of stuff. I think you just keep working hard; I think he’ll have the same type of effect for our defense.”

Wolfe is a different player than Dumervil and Watt. While he does have solid pass-rush skills, he is more of an all-around player who can be moved around the defensive line. Wolfe said his role as a contributor and as a leader will be based on the same thing -- work ethic.

“If you can look past the experience levels -- I think that anybody that plays this game respects hard work,” Wolfe said. “So I just try to lead with my effort and I’m not a big vocal guy either. I just try to lead by example and do the right things and usually people will follow.”

Count Denver first-round pick Sylvester Williams among those people. Wolfe has quickly become a mentor to his fellow young defensive lineman.

“The thing I take from him is play hard all the time,” Williams said. “He’s a hard-nosed type of guy and he gives 100 percent to everything he does. In the weight room, this is the kind of guy that’s doing extra reps and some guys are struggling to get all the reps they’re supposed to do. When I first came in he was one of the guys that I kind of keyed in on as a guy that I was going to stick behind him because I knew he was going to do the right thing.”