The University of Cincinnati had a relatively late graduation this year — June 9.
What does that have to do with the Broncos?
The club’s first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, defensive tackle Derek Wolfe, wasn’t able to participate in the team’s OTAs until after that date.
On Tuesday, the former Bearcat finally took to the practice field at Dove Valley with his teammates for the first day of minicamp.
“It’s good to finally be out here,” Wolfe smiled.
Late last month, Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said he wasn’t upset that Wolfe wasn’t with the team, since it was out of his hands. However, he said there was only so much the rookie could learn without actually participating in practices.
Wolfe found that out first-hand Tuesday, as he said he felt behind for the majority of the practice.
“You’re just trying to catch up the whole time,” he said. “I think I caught up pretty quick and towards the end of practice I started to get it. It’ll come along.”
The rookie found that the hardest part for him was being behind in learning the playbook, but the veterans were more than happy to help him in the process.
Throughout practice, Wolfe was often off to the side talking with veterans like Kevin Vickerson and Jason Hunter in between drills.
“(I talked to) pretty much everybody,” Wolfe said. “My locker is right beside (Justin) Bannan’s, so anytime I have a question I just ask him. He’s been around for a while. I’ve got a lot of vets here.”
Even if he wasn’t 100 percent correct every time, Wolfe made sure to put in 100 percent of his effort.
“It’s still football,” he explained. “If you mess up, just make sure you’re running to the ball. You can’t coach effort.”
Wolfe, who said he lined up at both defensive end and defensive tackle depending on the package, was happy to get his first practice since rookie minicamp out of the way. But that doesn’t mean he was content with his performance.
“I’m never satisfied,” he said. “It’s never perfect, but it’s never as good or as bad you thought it was either. I’m just trying to fix the things I did wrong and perfect the things I did right.”
The Broncos have two more days of this week’s minicamp before a break that spans more than a month prior to the start of training camp in late July.
So Wolfe will soak up everything he can during that time, because this season he plans to show why Denver had him at the top of their draft board.
“I expect to contribute,” he said. “Obviously they didn’t draft me with their first pick not to play. I have some expectations here and I’m just trying to live up to them.”
Tags: Derek Wolfe