Promising Initial Impressions for Buffalo Bills’ A.J. Epenesa

Photo of A.J. Epenesa and family from

A.J. Epenesa uses periods for his two-letter first name, which means he’s like J.P. Losman and not EJ Manuel.  Updating the style manual for Andrew Jared is just one way we make the top pick feel welcome.  I hope he introduces himself to enemy quarterbacks by finishing statements.

The Buffalo Bills got someone who can be promoted immediately, and not just because there’s a vacancy.  In a perfect world, remaining players with top grades would all man positions of need.  Also, Mighty Taco would cause weight loss.  But the Bills seemed to pull off the unlikely equivalent of developing a six-pack by finishing a 6 pack.

Part-time menu distributors are on the verge of successful DJ careers, at least if you listen to those optimistic people they date.  But the Bills might not have to convince themselves they’re paired with a prize.  General managers must ensure they’re not selecting fourth-round talents because they’re trying to convince themselves that there’s untapped potential nobody else sees.

Anyone trapped inside who’s ordering at will online to pass the time is aware of the importance of focus while shopping.  The Bills made sure to stick to their list, which is a heroic act of restraint at a time when the device used to connect to the world also allows for buying patio furniture and second dinners.

Defensive end is conveniently an area of need.  The Bills claimed that before they got a new one, which is how you know they’re truthful.  Epenesa might have been worth the 54th pick even if they didn’t have a pressing need to press quarterbacks into panicking.  Thanks to Shaq Lawson rushing after a check, there’s a job to fill if not precisely a player to replace.

Drafting someone purely on physical characteristics is as foolish as disregarding them.  Players can’t learn to be 6’5”, at least under our present understanding of expanding human dimensions.  The Iowa man has exhibited growth in more than one sense.  Unlike Shawn Bradley, he’s more than his height.

Photo of Muggsy Bogues (L) and Shawn Bradley from

Coaches and fans are glad to welcome good raw athlete, as he demonstrated in the latter part of track and field.  Epenesa won two Illinois state titles by tossing a discus ideally as far as he will offensive tackles.  I’m glad he joined the Bills and not whoever nabbed him in the track draft.

Epenesa’s game film is more impressive than details gathered about him at the combine.  Athletes have to care about playing, which can’t be measured with a watch.  He plays like he’s after a reward.  Getting paid to do it counts.  It’s a nice example for humans to see relentlessness lead to a career.

Buffalo’s top 2020 choice is fortunate to play at a rotational position where doesn’t have to take every snap.  He probably already knows that, what with having previously watched and played this particular sport.  The expectation reduction could make the transition to working for a living smoother.

Use modest projections as motivation.  Defensive end is a difficult professional position to learn, what with burly offensive linemen being mean enough to get in the way of goals.  The present group’s transitional status leaves Epenesa with an opportunity to be on the field for the defense’s first play and for many of them after that.

Last year’s initial choice is as excited as anyone pre-ordering Epenesa’s jersey.  Ed Oliver has already established residence and can offer even more than advice about which Buffalo pizzerias to patronize.

Photo from

The man who’s now a grizzled second-year veteran can debate with his new platoon mate about who’s Batman and who’s Robin.  The senior player probably gets first choice.  Some comic book nerd needs to create a superhero duo on equal footing.  Until then, two rabid pass rushers should anticipate pairing up in a system designed to unleash defensive linemen on a hapless sucker lamely trying to propel a football forward.

Everyone can get better.  That’s how a soothing manager would let an employee know where he could improve.  As for gently approaching the rookie, scouting reports noted Epenesa could work on his own speed rushes and diagnosing those from enemy backs.  Those typical concerns for a defensive end can optimistically be remedied with practice, which is another reason to look forward to the end of home confinement.

This year’s first draft addition can get to work if we’re ever allowed outside again.  If nothing else, the top athletes amongst us need to leave the security of roofs to participate in training camp. Cure illness so we can go to Pittsford.

A second-rounder turned out to be a good first pick.  The Bills still came away with a player who could contribute immediately.  Epenesa doesn’t have to make the Pro Bowl in his first attempt to succeed, although he’s certainly free to do so.  Joining an established act is a nice way for an enthusiastic rusher to keep ruining passes post-college.

Editor’s babble: Thanks to Anthony Bialy for bringing us giggles during this difficult time. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBIaly. Hope you are all holding up well and staying safe. As time goes on and the weather continues to improve it will require even more personal discipline to socially distance as dictated by local communities. This pandemic brings new meaning to the term ‘cabin fever’. Hopefully our collective sacrifice will continue to save lives and reward us with a real football season. Sending lots of love your way <3.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.