A.J. EPENESA: Help on the Edge

By Craig J. Santucci @NYGiantsRush

There are some impressive defensive players in the 2020 draft and the Giants need as many of those playmakers as possible. Recently I did some work on a player that I heard a lot about and in full transparency, he did not disappoint.

A.J. EPENESA

I love this guy. He is everything I would want as a coach and teammate. He’s big, he’s powerful and damn is he humble. AJ Epenesa stands 6’6″ 280 pounds. He is from Illinois and is a 2nd generation Iowa Hawkeye football player. His dad walked on back in his day. AJ reminds me of a cross between Chris Canty (Dallas/NYG), Ryan Kerrigan (Redskins) and Joey Bosa (Chargers).

He plays big like Canty, swallowing up running backs and taking up space, anchoring down against big tackles. For a big man, AJ gets upfield in a hurry like Kerrigan and dominates with his hands, dealing a powerful stiff arm and swim move to beat the tackle and get to the Quarterback like Joey Bosa.

Breakdown:

  • Powerful
  • Dominating Bull Rusher with exceptional hands
  • Keeps lineman off his body and creates leverage
  • Can rush from the left or right side
  • Good field awareness can get up to block passes in the lane
  • Plays with a real solid base
  • Is good in the open field
  • Scrapes down the line of scrimmage to make tackles
  • Dominating 4/3 end who plays the run

Epenesa or “Eppy” has been contributing to Iowa football since his freshman year. He is a great leader with years of experience and would instantly give the Giants the power they need on the outside. He doesn’t bend like Chase Young, but his game fundamentals and drive upfield are exceptional. He loves the game and has that amazing Somoa athletic work ethic.

Iowa Stats:

  • Stats
  • 101 tackles
  • 26.5 sacks
  • 7 PD
  • 9 Forced Fumbles

If the Giants signed Markus Golden, and draft AJ Epenesa the Giants would then have a speed and power rusher on the outside. He comes from a football family that has remained close all these years and the more I watch him play, the more I am certain he is a very good pick for the Giants if Chase Young isn’t available.

I enclosed a video on his back story. Watch this kid compete! There is a video clip in their with Epenesa blowing up Saquan Barkley in 2017. This kid would be a great fit for the New York Giants.

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