Round 2, 54th overall: A.J. Epenesa
The Buffalo Bills started their 2020 NFL Draft with the selection of A.J. Epenesa out of Iowa.
In the absence of a first-round pick, Epenesa who was projected to go within the top 32, essentially could be considered the Buffalo Bills first round pick. The edge rusher out of Iowa was falling quickly out of the first round as many of the wide receivers that made this year’s class so interesting were picked up. This saw Epenesa available for the Bills to take at 54 which was perfect.
The Buffalo Bills desperately needed an edge rushers as though they have quality defensive ends in Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, and Mario Addison, Epenesa brings youth. Additionally, the fact that he dropped out of the first round has served as a chip on his shoulder as he was seen to be irritated in his post-draft media conference which ensures that he will hit the field hungrier than ever.
Going back to Hughes, Murphy and Addison, the three will all be in their 30s by season end. With the injection of youth and physicality of Epenesa combined with last year’s first-round selection in Ed Oliver, the Bills defensive four has been completely rebuilt. Though the team lost Shaq Lawson to the rival Miami Dolphins and Jordan Phillips to the Arizona Cardinals, Epenesa has the frame at 6’6″, 280 pounds to bounce in and out of the DE and DT position.
I really like this pick because it reinforces the identity of the Buffalo Bills. The team has never been one like Kansas City where they will score 40 points and not break a sweat. They are a team that will wear you down physically and win from timely completion and even more timely defensive stops.