I tend to go back and forth on these "could have been" posts when it comes to the draft. It is usually interesting enough to fill a little space and generate some conversation, so here goes. The St. Louis Rams got their defensive tackle in the 1st round with Michael Brockers. Had things turned out differently, the Rams might have found help for the interior defensive line in the next round, with what would have been another surprise pick.
According to the Denver Post, the Rams and the Steelers were both interested in Derek Wolfe, the Cincinnati defensive tackle that the Broncos selected, to some surprise, with the 36th pick in the draft. I recall a clear sense of "huh?" in the media pool when that pick was announced on Friday night of the draft, but according to the sources in the Post report, Wolfe was going to be a 2nd-round pick no matter what.
And what is it about Wolfe that the Rams and others liked?
The attraction for many scouts was Wolfe's high-effort play and the fact he consistently won one-on-one matchups all along the line of scrimmage in his career - at end as well as at a one-gap or two-gap alignment at defensive tackle.
Ah, there it is, versatility, a prized commodity among Jeff Fisher's defensive linemen.
Wolfe counts as a surprise pick because he went off the board ahead of Devon Still, Jerel Worthy, Kendall Reyes and a few others that pundits had rated higher in the lead up to the draft. Denver's selection of Wolfe is a classic example of how teams grade prospects so vastly different than analysts and even other teams.
Time will tell if Denver made the right move in picking Wolfe, just like it will with the Rams decision to go with Brockers.