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Uwazurike ready to put pass-rushing skills to work

Having lined up all over the D-Line at Iowa State, the former cyclone is ready to do damage for the Broncos now.

TCU v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

“En-yo-mah Oo-waz-uh-ree-kay” knows his name is hard to pronounce - or at least without seeing the phonetic spelling.

That’s why he has a simple solution - an easy nickname.

But “E-N-Y-I” is not pronounced how you would think.

It’s even simpler, says the new defensive lineman from Iowa State.

“‘Enyi’. Like E-N-Y-I, but it’s pronounced ‘innie’ like a belly button,” Uwazurike notes.

Well “Innie,” the former Cyclone, will be coming into a solid but depth-lacking defensive line, and he couldn’t have asked for a better situation.

Admitting he needs improvement on perfecting “small technique things” that make a big difference at the pro level, Uwazurike believes “being on the right team” can mean everything for the projected success of a rookie.

“I’m grateful for that to be in Denver,” he said, admitting he had no idea he was on the Broncos’ board. “Just being around coaches that can sharpen up those tools and they can prepare me for the future.”

Uwazurike had some early lessons in college as he struggled early to stay eligible academically - but became an “Academic All-Conference” player by his senior year.

As a four-year starter at Iowa State, Uwazurike was considered an anchor to the defense as he played multiple positions along the interior line.

“I’m comfortable being moved all around the D-line—I’ve played every position [there], so it’s just all second nature for me at this point,” Uwazurike said. “I’m just ready to see how that improves over the years. I feel like the better that gets, the more useful I’ll be.”

Standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing in at 316 pounds, the big man is known for his size and athleticism and the kind of disruption he can bring to an opposing offense, particularly in the run game.

And his potential feels like a good replacement for Shelby Harris, as AJ Schulte pointed out. Though Harris seemed to own QBs when it came to batting down passes, Uwazurike may well have that ability too. And he definitely feels confident in his ability to go after the quarterback.

As a fifth-year senior in 2021, Uwazurike had 9 sacks and 1 pass defensed. As a junior, in addition to 1.5 sacks that season, he had one batted pass and two fumble recoveries, one of which he scored a touchdown.

“When it comes to pass-rushing...I have the right amount of strength, speed and quickness that I can use all three of them really well,” the new lineman said. “I’m not just a one-trick pony when it comes to pass rushing. I have a variety of different things I can use, so I think that’s what helps my pass rush a lot.”