Derek Wolfe: "The Solution"
Weight: 295 lbs.
Arm Length: 33 ¼ in
Hand Span: 10 ¾ in.
Position: Defensive Tackle
Awards and Accolades:
Co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year
First Team All Big East
Photo Credit: Fred Vuich/SI
First, I just want to credit the inspiration for this post to an article I read on this site earlier today by Trip Lamp. It was very interesting article, full of picks I have not yet considered. You did a lot of homework, and that will save me a lot of time while I’m mocking. For that, I thank you.
Now that that’s out of the way, lets begin!
General consensus among Panthers fans is that we have two main needs, secondary and defensive tackle. Among a lot of NFL circles it is a well-known fact that in most cases it takes a defensive tackle about three years to become acclimated to the NFL. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, but the trend has been about three years in most cases. I’ll admit, a lot of Panthers fans are impatient with our defensive line’s progress. Personally, I attribute their impatience to Cam Newton. Last year we had quarterback trouble, this year we have a Pro Bowler; and with our miraculous offensive turn around, fans believe the defense is going to blossom overnight as well. Well as we all know, it does not always happen that way.
A number of weeks back now, I did a comprehensive break down of Carolina’s positions that they might address in this draft. Yes, I praised all my defensive tackles so highly but in all honesty, none of them are consistent enough to warrant a top ten pick. Still, Cox, and Poe at times show absolute domination on the field, but is that brief time worth the time that they are playing averagely. The more important question to ask would be is it worth the risk. Defensive tackle is arguably the hardest position to draft in all of professional football. In the world of logic and reasoning, wouldn’t a more prudent venture seem to be take this "high risk" position in a lower round so we wouldn’t have as much to lose? I think so too.
The main issue I can find with most of this year’s top dt prospects is that they give up too fast on plays, or either do not play with enough physicality. That is not the case with Derek Wolfe. He is constantly chasing the ball carrier, whether in the backfield or running down the field. He does not give up on trying to get pressure after the first attempt. Every snap he plays he is playing at 110%, please excuse the cliché.
The second issue I have found, and maybe to some this maybe their most glaring fault, is their lack of stats. Here are a few dt prospects stats from their senior year who went in the top ten in the last few years:
Ndamukong Suh (12 Sack 24 TFL)
Tyson Alualu (7.5 Sack 11.5 TFL)
Gerald McCoy (6 Sack 15 TFL)
Bj Raji (8 Sack 16 TFL)
Sedrick Ellis (8.5 Sack 12.5 TFL)
Glenn Dorsey (7 Sack 12 TFL)
***THIS YEARS CLASS***
Devon Still (4.5 Sack 17 TFL)
Michael Brockers (2 Sack 9.5 TFL)
Fletcher Cox (5 Sack 14.5 TFL)
Dontari Poe (1 Sack 8 TFL)
Jerel Worthy (3.5 Sack 8.5 TFL)
Oh I almost forgot……..
Derek Wolfe (9.5 Sack 21.5 TFL)
The last name is the only one with the stats of a top ten pick, and here is the kicker, he is projected to go late fourth early fifth!
By the trends of the last few years, Derek Wolfe is the only name on this year’s list that deserves to be picked top ten.
Next issue: NFL.com gave Derek Wolfe a 47.5 grade on his combine, oh really NFL? On Wolfe’s player profile his weaknesses are, "He is a slow mover….. relies too heavily on his ability to diagnose…" Hmmmmm isn’t that exactly what they said about Kuechly? Until this Boston College backer came in and demolished the Combine that is. I think it is time to check Wolfe’s stats against his five other first round counterparts.
Everybody’s Favorite: 40 yard dash.
1. Fletcher Cox 4.79
2. Dontari Poe 4.98
3. Derek Wolfe: 5.01
4. Still and Worthy 5.08
5. Michael Brockers 5.36
For his position, looks like Wolfe’s not so slow after all.
20 Yard Shuttle (Still DNP)
1. Derek Wolfe 4.44
2. Fletcher Cox 4.53
3. Jerel Worthy 4.56
4. Dontari Poe 4.56
5. Michael Brockers 4.81
So the big guy is pretty light on his feet actually.
3 Cone Drill (Still DNP)
1. Fletcher Cox 7.07
2. Derek Wolfe 7.26
3. Michael Brockers 7.46
4. Jerel Worthy 7.60
5. Dontari Poe 7.90
Again, Wolfe is one of the faster guys.
Bench Press (Brockers/Worthy DNP)
1. Dontari Poe 44 reps
2. Derek Wolfe 33 reps
3. Fletcher Cox 30 reps
4. Devon Still 26 reps
Well, two of his peers did not participate, but he still put up good numbers.
Derek Wolfe 33.5’’vertical is four inches higher than the next highest jump of his peers.
Derek Wolfe 108’’ Edged out #1 by one inch over Jerel Worthy.
So, maybe he is athletic, but how does the game tape look?
Here is the link from his best performance of this season against Vandy. While you’re watching, please notice the motor on this guy. He never gives up! He plays fierce and he plays mean; those are the two things that you must have to be effective at dt, battling it out in the trenches. One play that stood out a lot to me is at 5:57, he is lined up at nose tackle and they put three lineman to block him. That shows that they were scared. The Vandy game was Wolfe’s finest game of the season. He put up ten tackles and 2.5 sacks.
I’ve already shared my opinion, so now it is my turn to hear yours! Leave some questions or comments below!