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Woodyard, Bailey, Wolfe Leaders on Defense

Posted May 21, 2013

Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said three players stand out to him as the leaders of the Broncos defense.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Earlier this offseason, Von Miller called the Broncos' locker room one of the best in the NFL.

Part of that, Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio confirmed on Tuesday, is the abundance of leadership.

Speaking specifically about the defensive side of the ball, Del Rio pointed out two Broncos in particular that the rest of the unit looks up to.

"I think Wesley Woodyard stepped forward last year, became a leader for us," he said. "Champ Bailey, because of his stature, is a constant force here. So those are the two guys that jump to my mind."

"Guys always emerge," he continued. "I try to talk about, 'Look, this is our defense, and you need to embrace it and make it your own. Take ownership.' Part of that is having leaders step up and take charge."

Another player that the defensive coordinator expects to take a step toward that leadership role is second-year defensive lineman Derek Wolfe.

While it was hard for him to be a leader as a rookie, Del Rio said Wolfe began to emerge as one as the year went on. Miller said Wolfe has completed that transition this offseason.

"He's already the leader in the defensive line room," said Miller, who doesn't consider himself a vocal leader and prefers to let his "actions on the field speak for (him)." "I think everybody knew he was destined to be that right when we first brought him in."

As for Woodyard, he said he "absolutely" prides himself on working his way from an undrafted free agent to a team captain and leader on defense.

"It’s something that I’m excited about – getting a chance to be looked at as one of the leaders on the defense," he said. "I think that Champ has the back end and me up front – I think right now it’s going pretty good. These first few days, it’s too early to say anything, but we’re right where we want to be at right now. We have our same defense in and it feels comfortable and everybody is having fun. That’s what it’s all about."