Don't write-off AJ Epenesa:
Thanks to Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) for posting these RAS scorecards.
Here are AJ's scores graded on a DL curve:
Here are AJ's scores graded as an edge:
We know from this piece
what is important for DTs under 310:
Height (positive coefficient), weight (negative coefficient), BMI (positive coefficient), Weight Speed Score, 3-Cone (negative correlation).
AJE is tall for an edge and a tackle, has a small weight, good weighted speed, and a great 3-cone. Also when you look at his tape he excels lined up as an interior pass rusher. If he is going to boot inside 33%+ of the time you're going to get pro-bowl caliber play.
We knew he was going to test average. He uses his length, power, and good burst to soften the edge. His hand technique is also exceptional. He solves his problems differently than most edges. He is someone you can use in the stunt game too.
It's eerie how similar some of AJ's numbers are compared to Trey Flowers.
They both have long arms, are only 8 pounds apart, have 7.34 3-cones, and almost identical shuttles. Flowers was/is more explosive whereas Epenesa is the stronger of the two. Bench press is going away soon - it is worthless so please ignore that. If you take out bench press their overall athletic scores are even closer.
The Pats were able to get Flowers in the 4th but AJE is either going sometime day 1 or early day 2.
Epenesa has the ceiling of Trey Flowers, maybe more, maybe less. Somewhere around there. So what is that worth? Would you be comfortable gambling a late first or early 2nd? I would. I'm not saying he should be the pick at 23 or if they trade back whenever they pick but I wouldn't be unhappy if that is what materialized. The ideal situation would be trading down from 23 into the 2nd and picking him up there.
Quick edit: he is a monster against the run. He’s going to start right away. And again please watch him playing in the interior. This year go to 9:49 of the YouTube of him vs IIRC Nebraska to see him destroy a guard with a push-pull move.
I look forward to hearing from DJ what the buzz is around him after the combine.
I’ve been thinking about this throughout the weekend. What is his value? What if his upside As a pass rusher is Trey Flowers, 6-8 sacks per year, an appropriate level of pressures and sometimes put in a favorable position on stunts so schemed up? Is that worth a pick in the 23-45 range assuming they either pick or trade back? I’m wrestling with it now. I didn’t post my edge grades here but I think I might move him from an 8.0 to a 7.99.
What do you all think?