Projecting A.J. Epenesa's 2024 stats with Buffalo Bills

The Bills' young edge rusher is back in Buffalo after a strong 2023 season.
Buffalo Bills v New York Jets
Buffalo Bills v New York Jets / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

If there is one player who took a great size step forward the last two seasons for the Bills, it is defensive end A.J. Epenesa. Drafted out of Iowa in the second round in 2020, Epenesa has grown as a player from his first two seasons. At the end of 2021, it looked like Epenesa was becoming a bust for the Bills. Going into 2022, Epenesa had a massive amount of pressure on himself. He had set a career high in sacks with 6.5 along with 10 QB hits. Epenesa essentially repeated his production from 2022 to 2023 but he had more of a presence when it came to creating pressure.

His production the last two seasons has shown Bills fans that he is a solid rotational pass rusher. He has truly started in just four games in his career. However, with the system and players that the Bills have on the defensive line, Epenesa doesn’t need to be a first play starter.

Signing a two-year contract extension before free agency started, Epenesa is returning to the Bills to run it back and help this defense that is under new defensive coordinator Bobby Babich. In a room with Von Miller, Greg Rousseau, Kameron Cline, Kingsley Jonathan, Casey Toohill and Dawuane Smoot, Epenesa not only has an advantage as a first rotation player, but there is even a slight chance that Epenesa could potentially start. With how Miller performed last year coming back from his ACL tear, it would not be surprising to see Epenesa get the start over Miller.

With Leonard Floyd out of Buffalo, Epenesa could see his playing time increase. He played more than 50% of the defensive snaps in just three total games last year.

Bills fans are going to want to see if Epenesa can keep growing in his game next season, or if he has hit his ceiling. Either way, as long as Epenesa continues to apply continuous pressure, he will be an important factor for this defense.

Stats projections: 5 sacks, 25 total tackles, 10 QB hits, 3 forced fumbles