Bills second-round DE A.J. Epenesa struggled to make much of an impact as a rookie, finishing with just one sack. The pandemic-altered offseason didn’t help but the biggest issue was that Epenesa was asked by the coaching staff to drop weight from the 280 pounds he played at in college and he ended up falling all the way to 245 pounds. He’s focused this offseason on putting weight back on and Bills LT Dion Dawkins has noticed, saying, “He’s not a feather anymore.”
“I think it opened up a whole new world for me, because I was mainly known as a power rusher,” Epenesa said via the Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn. “And a lot of my speed moves weren’t as effective. And then now that I’ve cut some weight, and that I’ve gotten a little quicker, I’ve been able to change my game a little bit and kind of develop and adapt to being a little more of a speed slash power rusher rather than being so one-sided.”
Now Epenesa has put muscle back on to get to above 250 pounds. He still has some work to do, as Bills DC Leslie Frazier wants him at about 260 pounds and to be able to maintain that weight through the season.
“The key will be what happens once we end this offseason program and guys go away for the summer,” Frazier said. “What will happen between that time and the time we come back from camp? I’ve already had that conversation with him and he knows he really has to work hard and may be coming back a little sooner than some of the other guys. He’s willing to do that. He knows the importance of being able to keep his weight up in order to be most effective on the field.”
- ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says it’s the worst-kept secret in the NFL that Dolphins CB Xavien Howard is upset with his current contract and could try to force a trade if Miami doesn’t adjust his deal.
- Falcons HC Arthur Smith confirmed the team will have joint practices with the Dolphins in training camp. (Michael Rothstein)
- ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says not to be surprised if the Jets look into trading for Bears QB Nick Foles. He’s currently third string in Chicago and due $4 million guaranteed, while the Jets have zero veteran experience at the position and GM Joe Douglas knows him from their time with the Eagles.
- He adds a trade is a possibility as the Jets sort through what WR Jamison Crowder‘s future will look like with the team, as he almost certainly will be asked to take a pay cut from $10.35 million.
- The Athletic’s Connor Hughes writes that Jets second-round WR Elijah Moore has been the most impressive player on either side of the ball at OTAs and it hasn’t been close.
- Hughes adds the Jets seem to like veteran signing Keelan Cole as their No. 2 receiver and that 2020 second-round WR Denzel Mims has been working almost exclusively with the second string. Hughes notes Cole might be a better fit for what the new coaching staff wants out of its receivers than Mims.