Bills take A.J. Epenesa with their first pick of the 2020 NFL Draft

Epenesa adds some much-needed youth at defensive end for the Bills

Sal Capaccio
April 24, 2020 - 9:14 pm

The Buffalo Bills have selected defensive end A.J. Epenesa out of Iowa with their first pick (54th overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Epenesa was thought, by many, to be a first round talent, but fell to the 22nd pick of the second round before the Bills selected him. The 6-foot-5, 275-pounder led the Big Ten in sacks in 2018 (10.5) and finished third last season (11.5). He ranks sixth all-time in the conference with 26.5 career sacks. Epenesa also finished 10th in the Big Ten with 14 tackles for loss last season.

Epenesa is an outstanding athlete who comes from a long line of athletes in his family. He scored over 1,000 career points in basketball and won back-to-back Illinois state titles in the discuss for Edwardsville High School.

Analysts have raved about his use of hands as a pass-rusher. He’s more of a bull-rusher than one who relies on speed to get around the edge, but still has a good first step and instincts. He’ll have to learn how to set the edge as a run defender better in the NFL, but the Bills can use him immediately as a situational pass rusher.

Epenesa fits the Bills need for another pass rusher, but also getting younger at the position. Currently on the roster they have Marrio Addison, who will be 33 this season, Jerry Hughes, who will be 32, and Trent Murphy, who turns 30 in December.

The Bills also have Darryl Johnson, Mike Love, and Jonathan Woodard on the roster.

Here's a look at Epenesa's 2019 highlights:

FCJ

LOS

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