Every week we recap the latest updates on the Bearcats in the NFL. This week, we are taking a different approach and have reached out to our SB Nation friends at Arrowhead Pride, covering TE Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs and Mile High Report, covering DT Derek Wolfe and the Denver Broncos.
John Dixon of Arrowhead Pride was kind of enough to answer some questions about our old friend Travis Kelce, who played for the Bearcats in 2009, 2011, and 2012. Kelce was a third round pick by the Chiefs in the 2013 NFL Draft.
What did you know about Travis Kelce when he was drafted?
We knew he was the younger brother of Philadelphia Eagles center (and former Bearcat) Jason Kelce -- who had been a solid performer for the Eagles in 2011, but had not yet become one of the league’s best offensive linemen. We assumed that the younger Kelce had attracted the Chiefs’ attention because of his connection to former Eagles head coach Andy Reid, who had just become Chiefs head coach. We did not yet know, however, that because of that connection, Reid already knew much more about the circumstances of Travis’ 2010 suspension from the Bearcats than was generally known -- or that (as we learned only recently) Reid had reached out to Jason to ask if Travis could get his act together in the NFL. We saw Kelce as a player with upside -- but one that carried some risk because of his suspension during college.
What were your expectations for him at the time?
After Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez left for the Atlanta Falcons following the 2008 season, the Chiefs had been unable to find a tight end anything like him -- although obviously Gonzalez had set the bar high. By the time Kelce arrived in 2013, the team had used three third-round picks on tight ends. Brad Cottam and Leonard Pope had been entirely forgettable. The third -- former Iowa tight end Tony Moeaki -- had shown promise, but was unable to stay on the field due to injuries. So for Chiefs fans, the expectations for yet another third-round tight end -- particularly one with character concerns -- were low. When Kelce was lost for the remainder of the year after knee surgery during October of his rookie season, expectations could hardly have been lower.
At Mile High Report, Tim Lynch fills us in on what’s going on with Derek Wolfe, who played at Cincinnati from 2008-2011 and was a second round pick (#36 overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Do you see a decline in Derek Wolfe’s play?
Yeah, there has been a slight decline. Derek Wolfe’s game was never about speed or pass rushing, so the decline hasn’t impacted his play all that much. He is what he has always been - a solid run stopper type. One thing that has been annoying this year is that refs have finally caught onto his tendency to lowkey hold offensive linemen to help Von Miller get by them. Those two have great chemistry, but Wolfe is going to have to find even more subtle ways to give Von an edge.
Do you think Denver moves on after 2019?
Unfortunately, I do. He is in the final year of his contract and while he has been a great Bronco, his replacement is already there and looking for more snaps. Adam Gotsis will likely take over Wolfe’s position full time next year, which means Wolfe will be moving on to a new team. Piece by piece that Championship defense is disappearing. I believe Wolfe’s departure would leave only Von Miller and Chris Harris Jr. left on from that 2015 squad - and Harris may not be back either. It’s rough times out here in the Mile High City.
If so, how will his time in Denver be remembered?
Super Bowl Champion. Every member of that Broncos defense will live on as legends. To us, that squad was the ‘85 Bears reincarnated and Derek Wolfe was a huge part of that.