AFC East Notes: Bills, Epenesa, Patriots, Jets

In January, defensive end A.J. Epenesa looked the part of a top-15 pick. But, after a shaky combine performance, his draft stock crashed. That worked out just fine for the Bills, who managed to land the Iowa standout in the second round.

It was a mistake,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said (via Marcel Louis-Jacques of “This guy is a better player than the 54th pick in the draft, but time will tell. I think the Bills did a hell of a job and I’m happy he’s there.”

For now, Epenesa will play behind bookends Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison (he may also see some extra snaps on the defensive line if Ed Oliver‘s Saturday arrest keeps him off the field in the fall). In the not-too-distant-future, the Bills see Epenesa as a starter who can make a difference on the edge and even feature as a 3-technique tackle in certain packages. Epenesa is disappointed about being left hanging on the phone last month, but he says he’ll use that as extra motivation on his NFL journey.

I feel like I always try to play with a chip on my shoulder and give myself a little extra motivation. I was number 54; there were 53 people picked in front of me,” Epenesa said. “Yeah, it gets me fired up and I want to be able to go out there and prove to people that they shouldn’t have doubted [me].

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is out of his walking boot, according to’s Mike Giardi (on Twitter). Sanu joined the Patriots via midseason trade with the Falcons last year, but an ankle injury in his third game with New England hampered him throughout the year. The veteran went under the knife earlier this year and now appears to be on track for a healthy return. Sanu is under contract for one more season at $6.5MM, a reasonable sum considering his ability. In theory, they could cut him, but it would be a surprise since they gave up a second-round pick for him less than a year ago.
  • The Jets have serious interest in free agent cornerback Logan Ryan, but as of late last week, they have not put a formal offer on the table for him, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY hears. Meanwhile, the rival Dolphins may be a surprise suitor for his services. For his part, Ryan says he’d be down to join Gang Green…or any NFL team besides the Titans.
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10 comments on “AFC East Notes: Bills, Epenesa, Patriots, Jets

  1. crosseyedlemon

    I wonder if Logan Ryan is aware the Jets started out as the Titans. As an interesting quirk that inaugural NY Titans team had a player named Joe Ryan on the roster.

  2. wagner13

    Espenesa was one of the best value picks of the draft. Sometimes scouts just put too much stock in combine performance. However, as KD showed us, college production is oftentimes the better indicator of future success

    • crosseyedlemon

      The combine is a complete fraud in my opinion but as long as it generates revenue for the league they will try to con fans into thinking it has real value.

      • wagner13

        It helps to distinguish certain athletic traits, such as speed and strength, but doesn’t really reveal one’s positional value or skill level

    • beantownfan

      College production is also over rated,how many times has top ten draft pics actually turned into anything? Playing in these somewhat weak conference’s can be misleading

      • wagner13

        Well, you have to use something. Obviously college production can be misleading as well, but it typically reveals more than what’s essentially a glorified track and field meet. Also, the Big Ten is probably the second best conference in college football, so he’s not benefitting from weak competition

  3. rkmarx

    Does anybody else read “Ralph Vacchiano”, but think “Ralph Macchio” instead? I do every time.

  4. Simmons>Russ

    Bills did great to get AJ at 54.

    Him and Ed Oliver will be solid up front on that defence as some of those older guys start to retire.

    Also like Jame Fromm taken in the 5th round that’s a value pick and I don’t think he will be a starter or even competing but having a young fresh face in the room makes those guys keep on their toes and work harder. I think Josh Allen is going to have a great year with Diggs and stuff, I think he could be a MVP dark horse. He’s got the arm, he can run the ball and he’s now got good attacking options and the Pats aren’t as dominant

    • Chaznyc

      Looks like Eddie O is in for a couple of suspended game, maybe more. Why o why do they have to carry a gun!

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