As Day 1 of Broncos training camp approaches, there are still a few unanswered questions on the defensive side of the ball.
Perhaps the biggest question is who will replace Derek Wolfe for four games?
A name that came up twice during the team's media BBQ on Thursday was second-year defensive end Kenny Anunike. The 6-5, 280-pound lineman was first mentioned by head coach Gary Kubiak, then by veteran linebacker DeMarcus Ware.
"He's a young guy, hurt his arm last year and he had a whole offseason to really get himself right, and I've seen how hungry he was coming into the minicamp," Ware said of Anunike. "He was right there behind Wolfe and played on both sides, both tackles in the three-four and he was actually out there with the ones sometimes making plays and doing well, so Kenny really stood out to a lot of guys. He's coming along really well."
Kubiak echoed Ware's praise.
"Kenny has been one of our outstanding players throughout our offseason," Kubiak said. "I think Kenny's challenge as a player is size — can he hold up physically with his size and what you're asking him to do in a 3-4 look? But he's put some weight on, hopefully we can hang on to that. The effort's there; the ability's there."
Kubiak went on to mention Vance Walker as another potential replacement for Wolfe.
"Vance had a really good offseason. The thing about Vance, he gives us some flexibility. He's going to play some nose also, he's going to play the end position.
"We know that somebody has to replace Derek Week 1. It’s like having an injury, somebody has to step up. It’s an opportunity for somebody on this football team, and maybe we don’t know who that is right now, but we’ll find out along the way. That’s why we’re here, to go to work and fill those holes."
On the eve of training camp, it sounds like the team has players available that are capable of replacing Wolfe at least temporarily. That belief will be put to the test starting tomorrow morning when the team takes the field at 10.
This story has been updated from a previous version with a more accurate weight for Anunike.