Broncos camp: Kenny Anunike working to be unstoppable


Denver Broncos defensive end Kenny Anunike probably would have made the final roster in 2014 if not for a season-ending injury. This year, he’s hoping to do much more than just make the team.

As Derek Wolfe prepares for a 4-game suspension to start the season, the expectation has been that Anunike would get an additional spot on the roster while he’s out. His teammates, including Pro Bowl pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, who has spoken very highly of the former Duke Blue Devils pass rusher.

Anunike, however, is no longer sharing positions with his mentor Ware. He’s now playing the defensive end position in a 3-man front, which presents a new challenge all in itself.

“First of all, the main thing that Coach Kubiak talked to me about was that I have all of the tools and everything is there, but I need to hold weight because we’re moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4 to a now,” Anunike said. “So I’ve gained since last offseason. I’ve gained about 12 pounds, so I’m about 272 pounds now. That’s a pretty good weight and I’m holding down that three or holding down the four…”

Some might fear the added weight would take away from what made Anunike such a strong roster candidate last year. He says not only has it not taken away from his speed and quickness, but the weight gain has added to his skills.

“I’ve maintained my speed. I’ve gotten bigger, I’ve gotten stronger and I’ve gotten faster. I’m just using that and implementing everything that [Defensive Line] Coach [Bill] Kollar is teaching me right there on the field. I’m learning from my guys like [DE] Malik Jackson, Derek Wolfe and everything that [OLB] DeMarcus Ware has taught me too, and bringing that on the inside to help make myself unstoppable.”

May 27, 2015; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive end Kenny Anunike (91) during organized team activities at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most critical offseason additions the Broncos made was bringing on Anunike’s defensive line coach, Bill Kollar. Kollar has worked with some great defensive linemen in the NFL, perhaps none better than J.J. Watt in Houston. Anunike says the fire of Kollar has helped bring out the best in him already.

“He’s really just bringing the dog out of me. He’s on us. You guys hear him out here every day. He’s the loudest coach we have, and I love that. I love when he’s getting on us. He’s making sure that we’ll be the best players that we can for this football team.”

Last year, the Broncos obviously loved what they saw from Anunike, and apparently he’s made big strides from that this offseason. If he can crack the defensive line rotation, the Broncos might have a lot better depth than some think right now, even in the absence of Derek Wolfe.

Next: Kyle Williams out for 2015 with Achilles injury