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Bearcat Turned Bronco; Wolfe Top Pick


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- On Thursday, Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said the team could still find "impact" players on day two of the draft.

With the 36th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Broncos hope they found just that in defensive tackle Derek Wolfe from the University of Cincinnati.

"Derek is a versatile DT who plays with great intensity," Elway wrote on Twitter. "He can do a lot of things for us on the defensive line. Thrilled he's a Bronco!"

The 6-5, 295-pound Wolfe played in 45 games for the Bearcats, starting his last 38 contests at defensive tackle.

He recorded 162 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 37 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles nd three fumble recoveries.

He also deflected two passes -- both of which came on third down.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Wolfe described himself as a "relentless pass rusher."

His 19.5 sacks rank fourth in school history, and his 21.5 tackles for loss in 2011 were the highest total by an NCAA Division I FBS defensive tackle.

As a senior in 2011, Wolfe was a unanimous All-Big East first-team choice, earning co-Defensive Player of the Year honors as well. He was also named second-team All-America by The NFL Draft Report.

Last season, he was on the watch list for the Outland Trophy and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

Wolfe said his greatest strength is his mental toughness.

"I always say I'm going to take someone to where I've been before, but they've never been," he said. "So I know what it's like there and I can handle it, but they can't go there with me. That's what I try to do every game. It's just a chess match. Whoever wants to give up first, it's not going to be me."

He brings a tenacity in the weight room, as well, as he was named the All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year in 2011 by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

"As long as it doesn't look like I'm tired, I know I got him beat," Wolfe said of utilizing his conditioning on the field. "You can tell in their eyes, you can tell they've got snot bubbles coming out of their nose. You know what it's like when it's freaking 75 degrees out and guys are dog-tired and you just stand there with a straight face and don't put your hands on your hips and don't bend over. It's just beating them every play, beating them mentally every play."

The Broncos' next selection is another second-rounder, No. 57 overall.

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