ESPN names Bills’ AJ Epenesa among second-year breakout candidates

AJ Epenesa’s NFL career got off to a slow start. But ESPN is projecting things to turn around.

Among 15 players in the league that could see a “second-year breakout” according to the outlet, Epenesa appeared at the No. 13 overall spot on the list put together by the former world-wide leader:

13. AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Buffalo Bills

Pick in 2020 draft: No. 54

Epenesa, a standout college edge rusher, didn’t look the part of a successful NFL pass-rusher, which is in part why he fell to the middle of Round 2 despite a career 91.3 pass-rush grade at Iowa. He doesn’t have natural bend, but he always has been productive. As the 2020 season wore on, he started to put together strong games. In Week 17 against Miami, he earned him a 72.5 PFF grade.

Epenesa wasn’t expected to come into the league and win right away, but with an offseason of development under his belt, he’ll be able to find more ways to succeed at the line of scrimmage for 2021.

Epenesa, rightfully so, should have some solid expectations attached to him heading into next season. There’s plenty of reason to expect him to reach such levels.

As referenced, after his slow start as a rookie, he did improve. What didn’t help the early days of his career was the COVID-19 pandemic. His first pro season was anything but normal, so not only will Epenesa have a full…

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