Buffalo Bills: Grading each pick from the 2020 NFL Draft

Defensive lineman A.J. Epenesa of Iowa. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Defensive lineman A.J. Epenesa of Iowa. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills A.J. Epenesa of the Iowa Hawkeyes. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

A.J. Epenesa

While some Bills fans probably thought the team would be adding an offensive player with their first pick in the draft, the team decided to add some youth to their defensive line.

During his call with general manager Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott, Epenesa was told to embrace the fact that he was not picked in the first round like some had projected. It’s easy to understand why the Bills wanted to emphasize that point considering the former Iowa product put up double-digit sacks as a sophomore and junior.

Some might point to his results at the combine as a reason for why he dropped to the second round. Fortunately for Epenesa, Beane made it clear to Matt Parrino of Syracus.com that Epenesa’s combine results weren’t the only evaluation tool for their decision to draft him.

For Buffalo, they can obviously benefit from a player who should feel slighted by not getting picked earlier considering there was a run of defensive players taken where he might have expected to go in the first round.

"“I was looking forward to possibly being a first-round draft pick. But I just needed one team to give me an opportunity. That’s what the Bills have done and I’m looking to make the most of it,” he told Parrino. “I’m starting from the bottom and I’m trying to work my way up.”"

This is the second year in a row that the Bills have used their first pick of the draft on defense after taking Ed Oliver in 2019. Fortunately for Epenesa, he will get a chance to work his way into a strong defensive line and not be forced to contribute right away.

You can read more about what Epenesa brings to the team here. 

Grade: A-