David Anenih, Houston EDGE | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Logan Hall commands all the attention, but does the 2022 NFL Draft scouting report of Houston EDGE David Anenih deserve similar interest?

We all hear about the tremendous depth of the 2022 EDGE class. But just how deep is it? We can answer that question by examining the 2022 NFL Draft scouting report of Houston EDGE David Anenih. You hardly hear Anenih’s name alongside other high-profile EDGE players, but he may have comparable upside in the later rounds.

David Anenih’s NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: EDGE
  • School: Houston
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 251 pounds
  • Wingspan: 83 1/8″
  • Length: 34 3/8″
  • Hand: 9 1/2″

David Anenih’s Scouting Report

PFN’s Aaron Wilson reported that Anenih impressed scouts at the Houston Pro Day. Still lingering around the 250-pound mark at 6’2″, Anenih ran a 4.66 40-yard dash, had a 37.5″ vertical, a 123″ broad jump, and logged 25 reps at the bench press. Anenih also showed he could move in space — an important skill for him to take his game to the next level.

“I can move, I can move well,” Anenih said, per Wilson. “I showed I can move well for a guy my height and weight and my size. My movements, backpedaling and shuffling, aren’t an issue for me. This means a lot to me because ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of this. Finally, it’s here. My dreams are about to finally come true.”

Of course, if you view Anenih’s tape, his late emergence on the NFL Draft stage is no surprise. The Houston EDGE has the natural talent. How does it buoy his projection, and what does he need to do to reach his maximum potential?

Anenih’s athletic profile

Anenih’s explosiveness numbers were well above average. And that burst off the line shows up on tape. Especially from two-point stances, Anenih is very explosive off the snap. He gets displacement quickly and puts pressure on tackles with his easy acceleration. Additionally, he shows an explosive closing burst when he has an open path to the quarterback.

Anenih also has definite twitch with his movement. He’s an amped-up athlete with great energy, and his motor runs hot through the snap. He has good pursuit speed and has shown he can drop in coverage. Anenih has the athleticism to contain quarterbacks in pursuit, and he also has the lateral agility to stunt gaps and manipulate rushing angles.

Anenih offers even more appeal beyond his explosiveness, however. The Houston EDGE also has elite proportional length, which affords him immense power capacity. On top of that, his lower frame allows him great natural leverage, which he uses to maximize that power. Anenih has solid play strength, which shows up in run defense. He can set the edge, establish half-man relationships, and rip down anchors.

Execution beyond the physical traits

Anenih primarily wins with his traits at this point, but there are promising bouts of operational strength on tape — the most exciting of which being his bend and multitasking capacity. Anenih flashes good ankle flexion and torso flexibility, and he has the capacity to shrink his frame. He’s also flashed the ability to roll his hips and accelerate around the apex.

Going further, Anenih shows glimpses of targeted hand usage. Although he can be cleaner with his execution, he employs rip moves at the apex, and he possesses a euro/cross-chop combo that ties together his lateral agility and power. He’s still experimenting, but Anenih’s trending up after a strong 2021 campaign.

Anenih has the strength and length to rip himself free from anchors and surge into the pocket. With his length in particular, he can use swipes and rips to nullify extensions and compound his momentum around the edge. Going further, he can surge into his opponent’s torso and exert power, straining tackles and giving himself space. Moreover, he anchors blockers and stands tall in run defense.

Areas for improvement

While the physical tools with Anenih are enticing, there’s still plenty to work on before he reaches his ceiling. Most notably, Anenih’s hand usage can improve. He doesn’t always capitalize on displacement with proper hand usage and placement. Anenih can more consistently time moves at the apex to build on his burst and bend, and he struggles to consistently stack counters around the edge.

Anenih doesn’t always come with a pass-rush plan. His hands are fast but sometimes lack direction and force. The Houston EDGE can be cleaner and more coordinated with his use. He also can be overreliant on long-arms and bull rushes. His length makes this an available option, but he’ll need to diversify his approach in the NFL. And while his bull rushes are strong, he sometimes fails to sustain his leg drive after extending.

Moving onward, Anenih’s bend, while good, may not be elite. His hips can be a little stiff at the apex, and he sometimes struggles to maintain acceleration past that point. Among other things, Anenih’s lower body is a little lean, and he can’t always channel ample power from his base. He sometimes gives up too much surface area in run defense trying to splice through gaps. And finally, he can be a tick late timing the snap.

Anenih’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview

Anenih is an incredibly intriguing prospect. Despite being around 6’2″, 251 pounds, he has a dense frame with elite proportional length, and those qualities allow him to play bigger than his listed size. He has great power capacity with his length and explosiveness, but he’s also agile enough to vary his rushing approach and manipulate leverage.

The overarching concern with Anenih is that he can still be more consistent, as well as more methodical with his hands. He sometimes experiences a delay off the snap, and he too often relies on mere extensions to knock tackles off-balance. Anenih also doesn’t consistently stack counters off of those extensions, and he can add more moves to his arsenal.

The exciting thing with Anenih is that, aside from his hand usage, he has a lot of foundational traits. He’s long, dense, explosive, fairly strong, and has good bend capacity. Particularly as a 3-4 rush OLB, where he can play out of a two-point stance, he’s worth an early-to-mid Day 3 pick as a developmental defender. And early on, with his athletic traits, he can be a rotational pass-rushing catalyst.

Anenih’s Player Profile

The Houston Cougars know how to find talent on the defensive line. In the past few drafts, they’ve sent Ed Oliver and Payton Turner to the NFL as first-round selections. They may send another this offseason in Logan Hall. In the years to come, names like D’Anthony Jones, Nelson Ceaser, and Atlias Bell demand careful attention.

In the 2022 NFL Draft cycle, however, there’s one more player to know, and that’s Anenih. Like so many others, the Cougars found him. At the time, in 2017, he was a mere three-star recruit from Arlington, Texas. Ranked outside the top 1,000 prospects nationally, Anenih still drew offers from regional schools like Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Rice, and Baylor. But in the end, Houston enticed him the most.

Anenih’s career at Houston

Anenih came into college with a strong frame already, so it came as no surprise that he hit the field early and often. The Houston EDGE started out in more of a linebacker role, but he quickly earned rotational reps as a true freshman. He only logged 2 sacks that year, but he’d quickly blossom into a consistent contributor on defense.

Over the next four seasons, in fact, Anenih would be one of Houston’s more productive players. Over that stretch, the Houston EDGE amassed 18.5 sacks, 29.5 tackles for loss, 7 pass deflections, and 4 forced fumbles. In 2021, he had his best season yet, logging 5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. He earned first-team All-AAC honors as a result.

Anenih’s NFL Draft ascension

A Shrine Bowl standout, Anenih has steadily boosted his stock this offseason. After his strong pro day, he’s likely a near-lock to be selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. There’s always a chance that Day 3 prospects slip through the cracks and wind up in the undrafted pool. But Anenih has the skill set to command a selection.

While Anenih isn’t the largest edge defender and has plenty of room to grow, even after five seasons, he brings exciting upside. With his explosiveness, length, power, and bend capacity, he can be a valuable stand-up edge rusher with some versatility in his role.

Tony Pauline’s scouting report for David Anenih

Positives: Underrated pass rusher with an explosive game. Plays with tremendous pad level, displays outstanding movement skills, and covers a lot of area on the field. Rarely off his feet, quickly gets out to the sidelines in pursuit, and can drop off the line of scrimmage and play in space.

Easily changes direction and immediately alters his angle of attack. Strong for his size and plays faster than his 40 time. Relentless, plays with terrific pad level, and fires off the snap with an explosive first step. Fast upfield, bends off the edge, and possesses a closing burst. Stays with assignments and does more than mindlessly rush up the field and attack the quarterback.

Negatives: Lacks bulk and is easily outpositioned from the action by a single opponent. Primarily came out of a three-point stance for Houston and does not have great growth potential.

Analysis: Anenih was an impact defender for Houston even though he was out of position at defensive end. He offers possibilities as a situational pass rusher on Sundays and has the athleticism and wherewithal to be used up the field and in space.

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