The 2019 NFL Draft just concluded as 2020 NFL Drafts are now pouring out and CBS Sports has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking a pass rusher.
It is never too early to look ahead to next year’s draft right? In CBS Sports’ 2020 Mock Draft, Chris Trapasso has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking new member Anthony Nelson’s college teammate A.J. Epenesa, a pass rusher from the University of Iowa.
After Nelson was the first defensive lineman taken off the board by the Buccaneers in the fourth round, the status of Gerald McCoy hanging in the balance, and Carl Nassib and Noah Spence on the last years of their contracts, Tampa Bay will need to again prioritize their defensive front.
Trapasso wrote on Epenesa and his fit with the Buccaneers:
"“Another power player from Iowa, Epenesa oftentimes overshadowed Anthony Nelson last season on the edge. While not a speed-predicated defensive lineman, Epenesa moves well for his listed weight of 280 pounds at 6-foot-6. He understands the importance of using pass-rushing moves to win too. The Buccaneers still need help on the outside of their defensive line” (via Trapasso)"
The Buccaneers picked seventh overall in this draft as the order was determined by the current SportsLine win projections, which has Tampa Bay slotted at 6.5 wins. After back-to-back five win seasons, the Buccaneers will have to prove they are no longer pushovers before Las Vegas will take notice with their odds.
In 2018, Epenesa tallied 10.5 sacks opposite new Buc Nelson, and 16.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore at Iowa. These numbers were up from four and a half sacks and five and a half tackles for loss as a sophomore. If Epenesa continues on his positive trajectory, he will be a highly touted prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. Here he is already mocked in the top-10 to the Buccaneers.