NFL

A.J. Epenesa packs his sledge hammers up and heads to 2020 NFL Draft

After a successful three years with the Iowa Hawkeyes, edge rusher A.J. Epenesa has decided to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft.

The EDGE class of the 2020 NFL Draft just got a bit deeper as Iowa pass rusher A.J. Epenesa has decided to forego his senior season and turn pro. He is one of two talented Iowa players the draft world has been waiting on to declare, as offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs has yet to make a decision yet.

After a slow start to his 2019 season, Epenesa came on strong for the Hawkeyes, capped off by a dominant performance against the USC Trojans and potential top 40 draft pick Austin Jackson. Topping his totals from a year ago, Epenesa finished his 2019 campaign with 11.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, 32 solo tackles, three passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage, and four forced fumbles.

For his career at the University of Iowa, Epenesa finishes with back-to-back double-digit sacks, tallying 26.5 over his career. The 6-6 and 280 pound pass rusher has also recorded a career total of 36 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, nine passes batted down, and six forced fumbles for the Hawkeyes.

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Epenesa looks to be in a battle for the second overall edge rusher after Ohio State’s Chase Young with LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson. While Chaisson has the edge (no pun intended) in the speed department of the two, Epenesa is a much more powerful player who uses has hands like sledge hammers to shed blocks and wreak havoc in opposing backfields.

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One Iowa underclassman down, one to go. Will Tristan Wirfs join Epenesa in the 2020 NFL Draft or will he stay another year at Iowa? Either way, this year’s draft class just gained a stupendous talent off the edge with the declaration of Epenesa.

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