When A.J. Epenesa was entering the 2019 college football season, he was widely regarded as one of the best players in the sport. Many had him pegged as a top five pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Those expectations have slipped a bit following his junior season. After taking on a bit of a new role and seeing new looks from offensive lines last fall, the Hawkeye didn’t put up the kind of numbers many thought they’d see from the former five-star prospcet.
Epenesa is still considered to be a first-round selection when the 2020 NFL Draft rolls around. His skill and athleticism is a combination that not many players in this draft class possess. But after what some might consider a “down year,” there have been some growing skeptics about what Epenesa can do at the next level.
He’s looking forward to proving them wrong.
“I just kinda want to show people, maybe they have doubts about me. I just want to prove to people who doubt me wrong,” Epenesa said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday. “I just want to run fast, jump high and show what I can do.”
Epenesa still finished his junior season with outstanding numbers, totaling 11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three pass break-ups on the year. He also collected 49 total tackles as Iowa posted a 10-3 season.
At the NFL Combine, Epenesa will have a great chance to improve his draft stock and show why he’s still one of the best players available in this year’s class.