Derek Wolfe, DT/DE, Cincinnati

Scouting reports of the defensive tackles in the 2012 Draft.
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Derek Wolfe, DT/DE, Cincinnati

Postby Pudge » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:41 pm

Cincinnati Senior
40: 5.01


Has good size and strength, able to use his power to bully lesser guards. Flashes ability as a bull rusher, showing the strength and leg drive to work his way into the backfield. Has a decent first step, able to challenge a guard's outside shoulder or the edge when he's lined up at end in a 5-technique. Able to shoot gaps inside and make stops in the backfield. Able to get off blocks and trip up the ballcarrier in pursuit. Can blow up the fullback in the backfield to disrupt plays. His long arms allow him to get extension and stack and shed guards at the point of attack. Has a very good motor and doesn't quit until whistle blows. Works well on stunts and shows decent range and athleticism when you ask him to move in space.


Doesn't really have much technique, as he tends to rely on his motor and natural strength. If he doesn't win with his first step, lacks any real array of pass rush moves to beat blocker or disengage as a pass rusher. Needs to learn how to better get his hands inside more consistently when working as a bull rusher. Tends to run around blcoks by centers when he lines up at the nose. Struggles to get off blocks when facing the double team, overly relying on his strength again. Doesn't have ideal bend and flexibility and it'll cause him to whiff on stops in the backfield when he gets in space or penetrates.


Wolfe is a good run stopper that when he has the advantage in the strength department, as he often did at the collegiate level, he can be a very disruptive and capable playmaker. But when he matches up with guys that are his equal in the strength department, he becomes a much more limited player. He plays mainly as a tackle in a 4-3 scheme, playing multiple techniques, primarily over the guard or in the 3-technique. He would move to nose tackle in a 3-man front. But he might project best as a stack and shed end in a 3-4 scheme at the next level.


(9/22) vs. N.C. State: 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 pressures
(12/31) vs. Vanderbilt: 2 TFLs, 3.5 stuffs


2011: 13 GP/13 GS, 70 tackles, 21.5 TFLs, 9.5 sacks, 0 INTs, 1 PD, 2 FF, 2 FR
2010: 12/12-48-6.5-4.0-0-1-0-0
2009: 13/13-41-8.0-5.0-0-0-1-1
2008: 7/0-3-1.0-1.0-0-0-0-0


Wolfe definitely looks the part of a 2-gap end, and his long arms and strength make him a good fit as a stack and shed run defender. While he can be disruptive at times, he's not a guy that is going to be as disruptive in the pros as he is in college. Because he'll be facing bigger, stronger guards and tackles that have much more polished technique. And if he just relies on his strength, he won't make nearly as many plays as he did as a senior at Cincinnati. That's why the biggest key for his success in the pros will be his ability to improve his technique and do a better job using his hands to disengage and beat blockers. If he does that, then he can be a solid complementary starter. Even if he played in a 4-3 scheme, he'll never be a big-time pass rusher. His production there would likely come primarily via coverage sacks or makign stops when edge rushers forced the QB up in the pocket. And even then, you're probably asking for maybe 2-3 sacks a year at best. For the most part, he'll be a good rotational player that can play mostly some end in a 3-4, but also potentially spell a Casey Hampton-type of plugger on third downs. He'll also be able to play in a 4-3, but his upside as a starter will be a lot more limited because he'll be purely a two-down run defender. On some teams, that could translate into being a starter if they had a really good situational rusher behind him like a Justin Tuck or Jason Jones that they want to limit his snaps. But in comparison to most starters in the 4-3, he'll be a fairly one-dimensional and below average starter. All of this will have to come several years down the road. I think he can add some value in a rotation immediately, but his ability to develop technique will probably take the better part of three or so years before he truly starts to live up to his potential.


Wolfe would fit as a rotational player if the Falcons were intent on employing more two-gap looks in a hybrid defense. Wolfe has the motor and strength to add some depth in a 4-3 scheme, and as the team transitions more to a 3-4 team, he could get looks as a potential starter at the end spot. Initially however, he's not going to bring much to the table as more than an average No. 4 rotational guy. Eventually, he could develop and become a decent complementary starter, but he'll never be an impact player, more of a stopgap in the starting lineup. His true value will be on run downs where he can add similar value as a player like Chauncey Davis did or Vance Walker does, keeping guys fresh and being a plus-run defender. But like both Davis and Walker, he'll become less effective if he gets too many reps and can add value on the back-end of a rotation, but not much more than that.


Wolfe is a nice developmental depth piece for a 3-4 team that could go as high as the end of the fourth round for a 3-4 team looking for a high motor developmental starter. But because his upside is probably limited and it may take a few years to develop him, he's probably much better value in the fifth or sixth round. For a 4-3 team looking for another body in their rotation, they would be reaching if they took him before the seventh round since he's probably a career backup in that scheme.

1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite

Strength: 8.0
Point of Attack: 6.5
Quickness: 5.0
Pass Rush: 5.0
Motor: 8.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.

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