3. Derek Wolfe, Defensive Line, Cincinnati
2012 NFL Draft: 2nd round, 36th overall
Derek Wolfe was not who everyone predicted the Denver Broncos would take with their top selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Regarded more as a late-2nd, early-3rd round player at the time, Wolfe was somewhat of a surprise after the Broncos traded out of the first round entirely following their big free agency signing of Peyton Manning.
The defensive line had long been a problem area for the Broncos, and after the team used a first-round pick on Von Miller the year before, it was apparent they needed some more beef in the middle to help him out.
Wolfe came in and had an immediate impact as a rookie for the Broncos, notching six sacks in 16 games.
It seems almost cliche to say a player battled through injuries these days (who isn’t?) but Derek Wolfe came back from some pretty scary injuries in Denver to be one of the team’s best players of the decade, much less one of their best draft selections.
Wolfe played in 108 games for the Broncos and finished his career in Denver with 33 sacks, 46 tackles for loss, and a Super Bowl 50 championship.
He set a career-high in 2019 with seven sacks before moving on to the Baltimore Ravens on a one-year free agent deal.