The Broncos were originally slated to pick at No. 25 on Thursday night, but they opted to make a deal with the Buccaneers instead, adding an extra fourth-round pick in the process. The thinking was that Denver — in great need of a defensive tackle — could still execute their draft plan of nabbing a quality lineman in Round Two, while saving money and adding another selection through the deal.
With the selection of Cincinnati DT Derek Wolfe at No. 36 overall, the plan is working exactly as the Broncos hoped. A smart player who can both stop the run and get after the quarterback, Wolfe should be a contributor from Day One on the Denver defensive line. After losing Brodrick Bunkley in free agency to the Saints and still unable to agree to terms with Marcus Thomas, the Broncos will use Wolfe in a variety of roles, mainly as a five-technique next to DRE Elvis Dumervil.
In college, Wolfe developed slowly, playing his best during his senior season with the Bearcats. In 2011, he had 21½ tackles for loss, 9½ sacks and was named Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year. Given the pass rushers the Broncos already have on the roster — Dumervil, Von Miller and D.J. Williams — Wolfe should see a lot of one-on-one opportunities to make plays up the middle. If he can begin his pro career in similar fashion to how he finished in college, the Broncos have themselves a game-changer with their second-round pick.
The Broncos still require depth at cornerback, a backup running back, more depth on the offensive line and a developmental quarterback. Now with an extra pick and a defensive tackle already in the fold, Denver is doing exactly what it had laid out on their original draft plan.
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