Buffalo Bills pick up A.J. Epenesa

Iowa edge rusher, A.J. Epenesa, became the second Samoan selected in the 2020 N.F.L. draft when he was picked 54th overall by the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.

The 21-year-old will sign a four-year contract with the Bills projected to be worth over 16 million tala.

His father Epenesa Epenesa also played college football for the Iowa Hawkeyes after he moved to the U.S.A. from American Samoa.

A.J. Epenesa stands 6-foot-6 (198 centimetres) tall and weighs 280 pounds (127 kilograms), and Scott Dochterman of The Athletic who closely watched his college career wrote that his hallmark is his physicality:

“His physical style of play produces a cumulative effect on opponents. While many analysts question his burst off the edge, Epenesa knows his game is based on heavy hands and explosive power.”

The man himself told Dochterman he loves watching N.F.L. superstar J.J. Watt because they are of similar size.

“He’s not your typical slim, shredded edge; he’s able to rush off the edge with speed,” Epenesa said. 

“He’s able to rush on the inside, and that’s what I want to be able to do — be versatile enough to be placed where the coaches think a mismatch is there or where I would fit best in the game.

“I feel like I can be a momentum changer, no matter what time of the game it is. Whether it’s trying to get a strip sack and get the ball back to the offense or helping the defense score itself, I feel like I bring a certain kind of energy that brings confidence that the offense or defense is going to pull through.”

With this year’s draft being conducted wholly online due to COVID-19 lockdowns across the United States of America, Epenesa was at home with his family in Glen Carbon, Illinois when he heard the news.

Rounds 4 through 7 of the 2020 N.F.L. Draft will take place on Sunday from 5am Samoan time.

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