Name: Ken Ekanem
Height: 6'4" Weight: 257
Age: 25 Experience: Rookie
College: Virginia Tech
The 2017 NFL Draft came and went without Virginia Tech’s Ken Ekanem’s name being called. However, the Denver Broncos came calling after the conclusion of the draft to try to persuade Ekanem to join to their already loaded and talented edge rushing unit. He obviously accepted the Broncos offer and now will fight for a roster spot, or a spot on the Broncos 10-man Practice Squad this spring/summer.
Ekanem played four seasons at Virginia Tech and put up some impressive numbers during his tenure. During his four-year career, he totaled 131 tackles, 34 tackles for a loss, 22.5 sacks, 6 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles. This past season he totaled 36 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, and 2 pass deflections.
Now he joins the Broncos group of talented edge rushers in hopes of cracking their 53-man roster or at least making their 10-man practice squad.
He has a chance to get some extra reps this spring and summer with Shaquil Barrett missing all of the remaining OTA’s and minicamp practice as well as likely sitting out at least some of Training Camp. So he will be given a shot to prove himself while Barrett sits out.
Ekanem does not have the physical or athletic traits you look for in an edge rusher but does have the power and strong hands to potentially make a name for himself in the NFL.
He has four years of productive play under his belt at Virginia Tech and has a good motor that coaches love.
He is a long shot but has the mentality to impress coaches this summer.
I touched on it already, but he lacks the physical and athletic traits you look for in a prototypical NFL edge rusher.
He doesn’t have the ideal height you look for, he doesn’t have the arm length you look for, he has stiff hips, lacks explosion off the snap, and just all the athletic traits you want. He does have the strength and strong hands to survive in this league, but his odds of cracking the 53-man roster are very low, especially on the Broncos roster.
NFL.com’s draft analyst Lance Zierlein on Ken Ekanem
“On paper, Ekanem will be lacking in both the physical and athletic traits that teams will want out of either a defensive end or outside linebacker. However, he has functional power, above average hands and a toughness to his game that could translate in the right scheme and for the right coach.”
Ken Ekanem faces very long odds to make the Broncos 53-man roster. He will need to pass two or three players on the depth chart to even have a shot to crack the 53. The competition to make the 10-man Practice Squad is pretty tough too. So he will need a productive and healthy offseason, training camp, and preseason to make his case.
I’d say right now, Ekanem is at best a Practice Squad candidate, but far from a lock.