2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa

PFN Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline's scouting report on 2020 NFL Draft prospect DE A.J. Epenesa of Iowa.

2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report
A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

Career Snapshot
First-year starter who earned Second Team All-America honors and made 49 tackles (14.5 for loss) with 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles as a junior in 2019. Named Second Team All-Big Ten and made 37 tackles (16.5 for loss) with 10.5 sacks and four forced fumbles as a sophomore.

Explosive, ferocious defensive lineman who is solid in all areas of the position. Instinctive, quickly reads and diagnoses the action and remains disciplined with assignments. Does more than just pin his ears back and rush up the field and plays with a violent attitude. Fast up the field, explosive, and can be an overwhelming force. Breaks down well and plays with proper pad level.

Flashes great hand technique to consistently protect himself and disengage from blocks. Attacks quarterbacks, displays solid movement skills, and easily changes direction. Quick, always on balance, and plays with terrific body control. Plays with power in his lower body.

Must develop more moves. Often gets knocked from the point by a single blocker. Not quick or fluid when asked to twist or stunt. Lacks a great first step off the snap. Not a true edge rusher.

Epenesa presented himself as an overwhelming force at times over the past two years. He’s a well-rounded defensive end rather than a pure edge rusher and could grow into a starter in either a three or four-man line. Epenesa possesses terrific upside and should only improve with more experience and technique training.

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