Is A.J. Epenesa heading for a breakout season with the Buffalo Bills?
The defensive end position is one that is often discussed for the Buffalo Bills entering this season. The pass rush was an area the Bills needed to improve and they tried to do that this offseason by adding defensive ends Greg Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr. with their first two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
One player that is often forgotten though who could play a major role in that improvement is last year’s second round A.J. Epenesa.
However, Peter Schrager on Good Morning Football didn’t forget and recently named him ninth on his list of the “Top 10 Breakout Players for the 2021 season”.
A.J. Epenesa should be a key part of the Buffalo Bills’ defense in 2021
The second-year pass rusher has been getting good reviews so far this summer and it isn’t surprising to see Schrager name Epenesa as a breakout candidate. Earlier this month, veteran Mario Addison also talked about Epenesa and said that he is “ready, hands down”.
On Friday night, in the Bills’ first preseason game of the year, Epenesa played 25% of the defensive snaps against the Detroit Lions and finished with no tackles but did have one QB hit.
The question for Epenesa, and the rest of the defensive ends, is how much playing time each player is going to get? In past seasons, the Bills have typically leaned on a rotation of only three players at defensive end.
However, this season Sean McDermott and the defensive coaching staff may be forced to switch it up with the depth they have at the position. If Epenesa is able to make enough of an impact to warrant more snaps, he absolutely could be in line for a breakout year in 2021.