The NFL Scouting Combine didn’t bode as well for A.J. Epenesa as he would’ve liked. After some poor numbers in Indianapolis, many draft experts thought the Iowa defensive end saw his stock plummet.
But ESPN’s Todd McShay doesn’t necessarily believe that’s the case for the former Hawkeye. While the testing numbers weren’t great for the former five-star talent, McShay says there’s still a lot of value that Epenesa will bring to an NFL team.
“A.J. Epenesa, the defensive end from Iowa, is probably in [Day 1] range. He didn’t have a great workout at the combine, but he’s a better football player than tester,” McShay said, according to 247Sports. “We knew that going in. He reminds me of Trey Flowers, the former pass rusher out of Arkansas. Epenesa has strong hands. He can move around a little bit and do different things.”
Epenesa finished the 2019 season with 49 total tackles and 11.5 sacks, helping Iowa to a 10-3 season. He also forced four fumbles and broke up three passes throughout the year.
Heading into the NFL Scouting Combine, Epenesa was considered to be a mid to late first-round draft selection come April. But after Indianapolis, the defensive end is now considered to be a late-first to early second-round selection.
It will be interesting to see if a team takes a chance on the former Hawkeye in the first round.