With all the talk of the Denver Broncos‘ bigger-named UFAs like Isaiah Burse, Kapri Bibbs and Brennan Clay, one name has gone under the radar and has opened some eyes at training camp. Fans have had to flip through their training camp media guides to see who in the heck No. 68 is.
Former Duke University defensive end Kenny Anunike has been a pleasant surprise at Dove Valley. He has been forcing run stops, big-time sacks on Brock Osweiler, and making loud hits that are being heard across the field. He has even been impressive in defensive line drills, and beat veteran OL Winston Justice a few times.
As a Blue Devil, Anunike led the team in tackles with 67, had six sacks, 13 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. He was routinely forcing pressure on Johnny Manziel and giving the very talented Aggies offensive line a hard time in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. The Broncos signed him as an undrafted free agent to add depth to an already deep rotation in the front seven, and he has given the defensive line some great competition thus far.
Two former University of North Carolina defensive lineman have been surprising and dominant as well. Marvin Austin and former first-round pick Sylvester Williams have shown great power in the trenches and have given the offensive line a rough time.
The 6-foot-2, 312-pound Austin has beaten many of the lineman in pass rush drills, and has routinely blown up run plays, including a big tackle for a loss on Ronnie Hillman. Austin was a second-round pick by the New York Giants in 2011, but injuries have had him bouncing around teams like the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys. If he can continue this kind of dominance on the line, he should secure a spot on the 53-man roster.
Other surprising playmakers in training camp thus far have been cornerback Kayvon Webster, who has shown aggressiveness with the receivers in one-on-one drills and has shown success coming up and stopping the run. He even got a sack on Peyton Manning on a well-timed blitz. Rookie receiver Cody Latimer has shown his athleticism we all expected, beating corners Omar Bolden and fellow rookie Bradley Roby in one-on-one drills.
These early surprises have been a good sign to see, but I’m hoping for some surprises at the running back position. There have not been very many big plays at running back. Only Ronnie Hillman was able to break free of huge run in Day 3 of training camp. With many running backs trying to prove themselves since the position is wide open, hopefully a surprise player will have to come out and make some big plays.