For an undrafted player in 2012, who spent most of last season on the practice squad, safety Duke Ihenacho’s stock is rising quickly. So quickly in fact that the 6’1″, 207-pound safety has been lining up with the first team defense at times in place of Mike Adams.
“I’m feeling more confident this year, I feel more confident in my playbook and I think my teammates are more confident in me,” Ihenacho said last week. “It’s a lot of work right now, I just have to keep working and keep making plays in practice so I’ll get more opportunities.”
Ihenacho said that mainly Wesley Woodyard and Adams have been helping him make the jump from practice player to potentially a mainstay on the game day roster.
From dislodging a touchdown pass from the hands of Demaryius Thomas to intercepting the ball and running it in for a touchdown, Ihenacho is defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s pick for fastest rising player. However, Del Rio warns everyone that things are just getting started.
“He’s done some good things. That’s good. But that’s just a start. Nobody should get too far ahead of themselves,” Del Rio said. “It’s a long process. We haven’t even begun to get into preseason games. There is a lot left to do. There’s a lot more install to do. We’ll just see how it goes. But he’s done well so far.”
Will Ihenacho follow in the footsteps of fellow undrafted teammates Woodyard and Chris Harris on the starting roster? He’s definitely one to keep an eye on.