Denver Broncos 2013 Breakout Player Projections

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September 9 2012; Denver, CO, USA;Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe (95) reacts to his sack during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Second Year — Derek Wolfe, DL

The Broncos used their first selection in the 2012 NFL Draft on Derek Wolfe after trading out of the first round entirely. Wolfe is a very athletic, hard-working defensive lineman who was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. The Broncos shocked a lot of people when they chose Wolfe as early as they did, but he turned out to be a great pickup for the defense.

Wolfe can play inside or outside, and is currently slated to be the Broncos’ starting strong-side defensive end, and he finished his rookie season with 40 tackles and six sacks, playing nearly 85 percent of the defensive snaps last year. He was a key part of the Denver defensive resurgence, and he figures to be an even bigger part with Elvis Dumervil out of the picture.

Now that Elvis has left the building, there is a much larger burden on Wolfe to produce in the sack department. Even though he was the first Broncos rookie defensive lineman to start every game since 1973, he still could see great improvement on that six sack total, especially playing with Von Miller.

As talented as this guy is, the sky is truly the limit. He has an opportunity to be a star in the NFL, and one of the more versatile defensive linemen.