A high school football player and member of the track and field team, David Anenih chose Houston over multiple Big 12 schools and became a disruptive playmaker on a good Cougars defense across multiple seasons. When watching Anenih play, his first-step explosiveness, length, flexibility, and motor immediately pop. He is fluid and rapid off the ball and he uses his long arms to set up his rush plan. He has the speed and flexibility to corner the near hip of offensive tackles and he is relentless from snap to whistle. Anenih has a strong bull rush, rip move, and inside counter that complements his burst, length, and flexibility as a pass rusher. As a run defender, Anenih is an effective strong-side player and gap shooter. He is flexible with good length, which enables him to work off blocks and make tackles with his large radius. When it comes to areas of concern, Anenih has room for growth as a processor and developing more rushing counters. At a minimum, Anenih has plenty of appeal as a designated pass rusher but is capable of a prominent role in a hybrid front defense that can tap into and build upon his exciting toolbox of traits.
Ideal Role: 3-4 outside linebacker, strong-side defensive end
Scheme Fit: 3-4, Hybrid front
Written by Joe Marino
Games watched: BYU (2020), Tulsa (2021), Tulane (2021), Texas Tech (2021), SMU (2021)
Best Game Studied: Tulane (2021)
Worst Game Studied: SMU (2021)
First Step Explosiveness: Anenih is fluid and explosive out of his stance. He eats up notable turf with his initial steps and he is springy. His blend of burst and length is an exciting foundation to work from to set up his rush plan.
Flexibility: Anenih is a springy athlete that easily changes directions and turns tight angles. He is fully capable of cornering the outside arc and pressing tight rush angles. He can shoot gaps and easily spring across his momentum to maximize his tackle radius.
Hand Counters: Anenih has active hands and he keeps them engaged throughout every snap. With that said, he’ll need to develop more counters and become more effective at stringing together moves. He plays with good extension, so he needs to maximize that length with more variety and combinations.
Length: Anenih has vines for arms and it’s a major asset for him. It notably increases his tackle radius and he does well to play with extension. His length makes him an effective bull rusher and enables him to counter off it.
Hand Power: Anenih has sufficient power in his hands but won’t be confused as heavy-handed. When he explodes off the ball with low pads and wins with first contact, he creates a strong initial jolt with his body working in unison to maximize his power. He does well to maximize his length to keep blockers off his frame but often needs to work overtime to clear his frame if that isn’t the case. More consistency with timing and placement will help accentuate the pop he does have.
Run Defending: Asking Anenih to play 5-technique on run downs won’t yield favorable results given his frame. That said, he is an effective strong-side player and gap shooter. His burst and length are major assets in working off blocks and making tackles in the run game.
Effort (Motor): Anenih is a relentless football player that is urgent from snap to whistle. A fair amount of the pressure he’s been able to generate is the result of his effort and willingness to battle. He’s aggressive in pursuit and I love his competitive demeanor.
Football IQ: Anenih is an experienced player but still has room for technical growth and play recognition. He’s fallen victim to abandoning his contain responsibilities and can be too eager to sell out. There is some meat left on the bone in terms of opportunities to read the set of the tackle and adjust his rush plan.
Lateral Mobility: Anenih is a fluid defender that easily flows toward the sideline. He is explosive chasing plays down from the backside. I have no concerns about his lateral movement skills.
Versatility: While his ability to rush the passer is his calling card, Anenih has upside in coverage and in run defense. He should be an appealing fit for teams that run base 3-4 or hybrid fronts. At a minimum, he provides value as a designated pass rusher.
Prospect Comparison: Tyus Bowser (2017 NFL Draft, Baltimore Ravens)
TDN Consensus: 70.25/100 (Fifth Round Value)
Crabbs Grade: 72.50/100
Marino Grade: 68.00/100