Tag Archives: A.J. Epenesa

2020 NFL Draft recap: AFC East

Buffalo Bills  Notable pick: Bills HC Sean McDermott has had success with bigger defensive ends and Epenesa could add to the trend. The team needs him to produce. They lost both Jordan Phillips (Cardinals) and Shaq Lawson (Dolphins) in the offseason. The pair accounted for 16 of the team’s 44 sacks in 2019.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (54)A.J. Epenesa6’5 275 DE-Iowa29/2nd Round Epenesa’s technical prowess overcomes just okay burst off the edge. The former U.S. Army All-American brings outstanding size to the table.
3 (86) Zack Moss5’10 226 RB-Utah62/2nd Round Moss is the prototype strong runner for inclement weather in December and January. His health has always been his biggest knock.
4 (128)Gabriel Davis6’2 216
WR-UCF
115/3rd Round Davis’ deceptive gait and unorthodox style accompanies a 6-foot-2, 216-pound frame. He proved adept on double moves and boxing out the opposition in school.
5 (167) Jake Fromm 6’2 219
QB-Georgia
111/3rd Round Fromm finished his career with an impressive 78:18 TD/INT ratio. If he can handle the windy conditions of Buffalo, he may be able to compete to backup incumbent starter Josh Allen. Davis Webb and Matt Barkley are also in the mix, so there are no guarantees for Fromm.
6 (188)Tyler Bass 6’0 200
PK-Georgia Southern
380/5th RoundGame-winning kicks have been a part of Bass’ portfolio in school. He was also pretty good in rainy weather. The weather he is about to face is going to be an entirely new challenge, but his strong leg may be up to the task.
6 (207)
Isaiah Hodgins
6’4 210
WR-Oregon State
80/2nd Round
Like Davis, Hodgins isn’t necessarily flashy but efficient. The 6-foot-4 wideout is smooth getting in-and-out of patterns and can make the contested catch. To make the team, he needs to play stronger versus physical coverage.

7 (239)
Dane Jackson6’0 187
CB-Pittsburgh
207/4th Round
Jackson is smart, tough and generally fluid. Despite weighting in the 185-pound range, he could get looks at a nickel spot if he cannot keep up with speed on the edge. The team’s coverage style gives him a chance to make the team.
Moss rushed for over 4,000 yards (4,067) and scored 41 touchdowns in school.
Miami DolphinsNotable pick: Hunt did not get to show off his impressive physical tools in the postseason. He is a mammoth tackle with positive movement and the right temperament to surprise early in an NFL training camp.


Round, Selection,PlayerSchoolDN Big Board Rank/ GradeNasty’ Take:
1 (5)Tua Tagovailoa6’0 217 QB-Alabama37/2nd RoundThis pick is as much about long-term upside as it is 2020. With Ryan Fitzpatrick back, (as well as Josh Rosen), the team does not have to rush Tagovailoa into the mix. Fans yearning to see the former Heisman finalist could speed up the process.
1 (18)Austin Jackson6’5 322 OT-USC61/2nd RoundJackson legitimately was one of the most athletic offensive or defensive lineman in this year’s draft class. Getting his technique under control will be key. If he makes a big step in training camp, it would not be a shock to see him as an opening day starter.
1 (30)Noah Igbinoghene5’10 198 CB/All-purpose-Auburn157/3rd RoundOne of Igbinoghene’s best characteristics -kickoff return capability- may not be needed unless KR Jakeem Grant goes down to injury (as he did late last season). Where he will be needed is in nickel defenses, where he will battle current third corner Cordrea Tankersley (also returning from injury) for playing time.
2 (39)Robert Hunt6’5 323 OT-Louisiana-Lafayette103/3rd RoundHunt has made starts at LG, LT and RT. His near 11-inch hands deliver decisive punches to the opposition. He is also capable of surprising second-level LBs with his quickness on combination blocks. He has starting capability early in his career, but his durability came into question in 2019.
2 (56)Raekwon Davis6’7 311 DT-Alabama76/2nd RoundThe former Crimson Tide defensive stalwart was never a slippery defender, but he did find a way to notch 8.5 QB sacks back in 2017.  He is more of a stack-and-shed two-gap defender with enough strength to be an effective part of the team’s rotation in 2020.
3 (70)Brandon Jones5’11 198 S-Texas123/3rd RoundJones was a team leader, active tackler and decent punt returner in school. He does not carry a big frame but throws his body around. The big question concerning Jones will be his ability to stay upright with his style of play.
4 (111)Solomon Kindley6’3 337 OG-Georgia284/4th RoundKindley reinforces the belief that the Dolphins will continue to commit big athletic bodies to its offensive line. The former three-star recruit is a grappler with the right mentality to send messages in the run game. He was a big factor in the ‘Dawgs physical running attack.
5 (154)Jason Strowbridge6’5 275 DE-North Carolina165/3rd RoundStrowbridge’s upper body movements are well-synchronized when he times snap counts. He is more fluid than one would expect at 275 pounds, and he projects favorably in the multiple fronts the Dolphins will employ week-to-week.
5 (164)Curtis Weaver6’2 265 DE-Boise State75/2nd RoundWeaver’s underwhelming physical traits may have caused a precipitous slide in the draft, but his skill at flipping his hips resulted in ascending sack production each year in school. He has to improve defending the run.
6 (185)Blake Ferguson6’3 229 LS-LSU573/7th RoundFerguson- the nation’s No. 1 long snapper coming out of high school- more than lived up to his recruiting hype. The two-time team captain is capable of speeding up his long snaps versus pressure looks.
7 (246)Malcolm Perry5’9 186 All-Purpose-Navy277/4th RoundPerry rushed for over 2,000 yards as an option quarterback in 2019, but he earned plenty of repetitions for the Midshipmen as a slot back and WR during his career. Aside from averaging 21.4 yards per catch on 22 receptions, he also averaged 24.6 yards per kickoff return.
Miami Dolphins fifth-round pick Curtis Weaver finished his career as the all-time leader in sacks (34) in Mountain West Conference history.
New England Patriots  Notable pick:  Jennings didn’t dominate rushing the passer in school, but he did dominate in other ways. His 18 pass breakups are an eye-opening total for an outside linebacker.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (37) Kyle Dugger 6’1 217
S-Lenoir-Rhyne
36/2nd Round Dugger has all of the tools to develop into a multi-purpose weapon for the Patriots defense. If needed, he can play linebacker, a big nickel, off the hash safety and even return kicks. As the team continues to redefine its size in the secondary, the former Division II All-American seems like the perfect fit.
2 (60)Josh Uche6’1 245
LB-Michigan
70/2nd Round For a player as talented as Uche, he didn’t play as much as one would have expected at Michigan. When he did finally hit the field full-time in 2019, the physical skills stood out.
3 (87)Anfernee Jennings6’2 256
OLB-Alabama
107/3rd Round Jennings brings more versatility to the table than some anticipate and his hand-eye coordination is elite. While not a finished product as a pass rusher, he has an innate feel for rushing from multiple spots.
3 (91) Devin Asiasi6’3 257
TE-UCLA
197/4th RoundAsiasi averaged 104 receiving yard per game in the last three games of ihs career at UCLA. He is capable of working the seams of the field.
3 (101) Dalton Keene6’4 253
TE-Virginia Tech
137/3rd Round As Keene improved as a blocker, his receiving skills did not diminish. He has handled a number of his blocking assignments on the move. His straight-line speed and upside after the catch ranks as a positive for the Patriots.
5 (159)
Justin Rohrwasser
6’3 230
PK-Marshall
N/A
Rohrwasser’s leg strength is adequate but his accuracy (just nine missed field goals in two years) was perhaps more impressive. Most of his misses during school came in the latter portion of seasons. He is capable of placing the ball directionally on kickoffs.
6 (182)
Michael Onwenu
6’3 344
Michigan
203/4th Round
A true road-grading offensive guard with power, Onwenu’s 11-inch hands are hard to get away from once he gains grasp of the opponent. The former DL has the mindset to dominate opponents, but he has to keep his weight under control.
6 (195)
Justin Herron
6’4 308
OG-Wake Forest
151/3rd Round
Herron- a collegiate left tackle- impressed during the 2020 Senior Bowl with his work at offensive guard. He provides the team with positional flex capability due to outstanding feet.
6 (204)
Caash Maluia
6’0 248
LB-Wyoming
N/A
Maluia is thick enough to handle being uncovered, and he was a four-year contributor in a number of facets for the Cowboys.
7 (230)
Dustin Woodard
6’2 291
OC-Memphis
478/6th Round
The team has had success with smaller offensive guards and centers in the past. The reason? Mobility. Woodard was effective on the move as a puller way back in 2016, when he played guard.
New England Patriots sixth-round pick Cassh Maluia posted seven tackles for loss and intercepted two passes for the Cowboys in 2019.
New York Jets  Notable picks:  Davis brings capability to the Jets in multi-dimensional nickel packages. If he can play off the hash, then the Jets will be able to move around multi-dimensional safety Jamal Adams even more down-to-down.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (11) Mekhi Becton6’7 364
OT-Louisville
1/1st Round Becton will be tasked with the huge responsibility of keeping starting QB Sam Darnold comfortable in the pocket. If he can execute the task, then he could soon be a Pro Bowler.
2 (59) Denzel Mims6’3 207
WR-Baylor
42/2nd RoundMims may not have gone as high as he would have liked to go in the draft, but he now has a legitimate chance to turn into a team’s top receiving threat early in his career. He is a good alternative in the current lineup of Jets receivers.
3 (68) Ashtyn Davis6’1 202
S-Cal
99/3rd RoundDavis’ foot speed shined as a kickoff returner and when running down plays in pursuit. One of the best things he did at Cal was disguise coverage in a scheme that has some similarities to the Jets.
3 (79)Jabari Zuniga6’3 253
DE-Florida
182/4th Round While Zuniga did move around effectively in school on a number of downs, he is going to get every opportunity to do some work from a stand-up or three-point position in Gregg Williams’ multitude of defensive looks. Staying healthy, which he didn’t do in 2019, is a big key.
4 (120)Lamical Perine5’11 216
RB-Florida
146/3rd RoundPerine’s tools include the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield effortlessly. Combined with his hard-charging style, he could become a nice change-up for Le’Veon Bell.

4 (125)
James Morgan
6’4 228
QB-FIU

127/3rd Round
Morgan’s mental aptitude is perhaps on par with his physical tools. His arm strength gives him a legitimate opportunity to battle David Fales for the team’s backup spot.

4 (129)
Cameron Clark
6’4 308
OT-Charlotte
126/3rd Round
The two-time team captain and 35-game starter is an impressive run blocker who is still growing as a pass protector. The 6-foot-4-inch tackle has 11-inch hands and an 83-inch wingspan. We think he can backup at least four spots on the offensive line while competing for a starting spot at guard.
5 (158)
Bryce Hall
6’1 202
CB-Virginia
105/3rd Round
Hall’s instincts as a corner are first-rate but he wasn’t able to answer the questions about recovery speed in the postseason due to still recovering from midseason surgery on a broken fibula. The effectiveness of his playing style will depend on his eye control.
6 (191)
Braden Mann
5’11 198
P-Texas A&M
335/5th Round
His spiral punts get into the 70-yard distances when he gets hold of punts and his hang times have gotten into the 4.8-second range in the film viewed. A good athlete, Mann saved a TD on a kickoff return by Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III in 2019 and posted seven tackles this past season. Mann has to get better as a directional punter.
New York Jets second-round pick Denzel Mims posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons in two of his final three seasons at Baylor.