A day-by-day Broncos player breakdown is something we've been doing since our days at BroncoTalk nearly a decade ago. This year the tradition continues as we look at the Denver Broncos roster heading into the 2015 season in our 90-in-90 series.
Name: Kenny Anunike
Position: Defensive End
Height: 6'5" Weight: 260
Age: 25 Experience: 2
Anunike enjoyed a productive college career at the university of Duke. During his four-year career there he totaled 148 tackles, 26 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. His best season came in 2013 when he totaled 67 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, and 6 sacks.
Despite his productive career at Duke, Anunike went undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft. Hours after the draft ended, Anunike signed with the Denver Broncos.
Being an undrafted free agent, many overlooked Anunike during the offseason program and as Training Camp began. However, that quickly changed once Training Camp began. Anunike flashed his talent in practice after practice, and this caught teammates and coaches attention.
He carried this momentum through camp and intro the preseason. Heading into the preseason finale against the Dallas Cowboys, there was some talk about the undrafted rookie making the Broncos final 53 man roster. Unfortunately for Anunike he suffered an arm injury during that game and the Broncos placed him on the season-ending` injured reserve list.
Now in 2015, Anunuke is back and healthy, and once again impressing during practice. Teammate Antonio Smith was impressed by Anunike during the team's OTA's and minicamp practices earlier this year. He mentions how everyone noticed Anunike's talent right off the bat.
"I think that the coaches right off the bat noticed that Kenny was just out there on the practice field—I think when we did the mini camps—he was just out there outrunning everybody and out-hustling everybody. I see a lot of talent in him."
He's listed at 260 pounds, but he's reportedly bulked up to around 280 pounds in hopes of playing defensive end in Wade Phillip's 3-4 defense. ESPN's Jeff Legwold also mentions that Anunike could see some time at outside linebacker.
@ferruccij Believe they'll try him at DE initially working to the weak side...but could line up like a OLB in some situations as well.— Jeff Legwold (@Jeff_Legwold) May 11, 2015
Even with this added weight Anunike has continued to make explosive plays in practice.
Anunike will once again need to prove himself to this new coaching staff during Training Camp, and I believe he will. He's a versatile/explosive pass rusher who can gives the Broncos some nice depth at defensive end and pass rusher.
Antonio Smith's continued absence from the team is really helping Anunike's chances of making the team. Smith has missed some valuable time this spring, and Anunike has taken advantage of these extra reps. He'll be competing with Vance Walker and Antonio Smith for a backup role behind Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe.
The addition of Bill Kollar is a positive for every defensive line player on this team. He's one of the best in the game, and he should be able to get the most of the young and explosive Anunike.
Anunike's athleticism, intelligence, and strength are obvious strengths for him. He has proven he can translate these attributes to the football field, and i'm excited to see what he can do this year.
If Antonio Smith is cleared from his legal issues, it could put Anunike's roster spot in danger.
The only other issue with Anunike is his health. He suffered multiple knee injuries while at Duke, and suffered an arm injury last season. His arm injury ended up costing him a potential roster spot and his entire rookie season.
At this stage in his career he cannot afford to suffer an injury during the preseason or training camp. So health is something we need to keep an eye on with Anunike.
He's fighting for a roster spot. He's impressed during the un-padded session of the offseason, but will need to continue doing so when the pads come on during camp.
I like his chances at taking the third or fourth defensive end spot on this defense. There's a not a ton of competition at that spot, and I think he will thrive under Wade Phillip's/Bill Kollar.
The Practice Squad is also a real possibility for Anunike.