What NFL Draft experts are saying about the Buffalo Bills selecting A.J. Epenesa at No. 54 overall
Would AJ Epensa maintain first-round status or not? That was the biggest question among Hawkeyes supporters ahead of the NFL Draft.
Epenesa didn't, then he had to wait a bit on Day 2. The Buffalo Bills selected the former Iowa defensive end at No. 54 overall with the 22nd pick of the second round. The landing spot indicates Epenesa's lackluster Combine outweighed his strong tape.
Here are what some NFL Draft experts are saying about the pick.
ESPN analyst Booger McFarland
"It's a very interesting pick because you're looking at a defensive end, I think he's more of a left defensive end. He's one that can play over the tight end, and then when you go to the NASCAR package, you can kick him down inside. Iowa played him at the right end. The hips are not as fluid as you would like for a speed rusher coming from the right side, but I do like his position versatility. He can come inside at a defensive tackle. Good solid pick. He'll play for 10 years and may never be a double-digit sack guy, But he'll be a very, very productive defensive lineman."
ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
"Strong hands. He brings that edge pressure and inside pressure. and I think that's the ability to drive the offensive tackle into the quarterback. He did a great job against (USC OT) Austin Jackson, who went in the first round to the Miami Dolphins. He dominated against Minnesota this year with 2.5 sacks. He was quiet versus Iowa State, but overall he showed that versatility. To be able to move him inside at defensive tackle in certain pass rush situations, get him up against that center or guard, he can be a factor."
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.