Draft Profile: Edge A.J. Espenesa, Iowa

By: Steve Johnson

AJ Epenesa, Edge , Iowa

6’5 1/8″ 275 lbs

34 4/8″ arms. 10 1/8″ hands. 81 2/8″ wingspan.


D.O.B. 9/5/98

5.04 40 32 1/2″ Vert. 117″ Broad Jump. 17 Bench Reps.

7.34 3 Cone Drill 4.46 20 yard Shuttle


2017: 11 games. 15 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 Pass break up

2018: 13 games. 37 tackles, 16.5 TFL, 10.5 sacks, 4 FF, 1 FR, 1 TD, 3 pass break ups

2019: 13 games. 49 tackles, 14 TFL, 11.5 sacks, 4 FF, 3 pass break ups

Misc. Stats: 1 PR for 16 yards, 1 Rec for 15 yards during career

Accolades: 2016 USA Today All-American, U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Polynesian Bowl (where he was the Defensive MVP), 2017 Freshmen All Big Ten, 2018 First-team All-Big Ten, 2019 First-team All-Big Ten,


History: Five-star recruit from Multi-sport star at Edwardsville, where he was a three-time high school All-American and first-team All-State pick in football, 1000 point scorer in basketball, and an All-American and State Champion discuss thrower. Father, Eppy, played at Iowa.

Strengths: Great size with long arms. Outstanding motor with active hands. Scheme diversity, can be used in multiple fronts and shifted inside on passing downs. Long strides challenge tackles early. Plenty of power in his upper half. Uses his massive strong hands to quickly disarm would be blockers. Violent hitter when he gets home.

Weaknesses: Lacks elite athleticism, and no natural bend. Doesn’t yet possess the mass to play full time inside. Lack of feet quickness impairs tackle radius. Although improved in terms of plan of attack, still has some bull in the china shop. Eyes need work, needs to finish more.

Overview: Is he a tweener or is he scheme diverse? That’s what a lot of Front Offices will be asking, does he fit in our scheme? He has prototypical size and upper both strength, but has some issues laterally. He is still raw, but how high is his ceiling?

Evaluation based on games. Miss St. 18′, Mich 19′, Neb 19′

Draft Projection: 1st Round

Phanaddict Draft Grade: 6.15

How we grade