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Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa declares for 2020 NFL Draft

A top defensive end in college football has decided it's time to move to the next level.

Iowa edge rusher A.J. Epenesa declared his intent to enter the 2020 NFL Draft on Tuesday via an Instagram post.

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Thank you Hawkeye Nation!

A post shared by AJ Epenesa (@supersamoan94) on

Epenesa was a three-year starter at Iowa, piling up 26.5 sacks (including 11.5 in 2019), eight forced fumbles and eight passes defended to go along with 101 career tackles. He was named first-team All-Big Ten in 2018 and 2019 after earning Freshman All-Big Ten honors in 2017. If Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young wasn't in this draft, Epenesa might have been the first predicted to be selected at his position.

The 6-foot-6, 280-pound rusher wins not with speed, but with a combination of power, relentlessness and a premier use of his hands. Epenesa excels at winning inside hand position on opposing linemen and clubbing away their attempts to regain control while shedding blockers in pursuit of the quarterback. He won't blow by most tackles (meaning his combine workout likely won't be a headline-grabber), but his technique and strength will allow him to make a lengthy career for himself in the NFL.

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