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A.J. Epenesa ready to make an impact despite unusual offseason

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Posted at 12:11 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 12:11:40-04

ORCHARD PARK, NY (WKBW) — A.J. Epenesa is ready to make an impact.

"I have something that I have to prove, something I have to put on tape, and something I have to show people," he said.

After being drafted by the Bills in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft, a steal considered by many, the Bills rookie is in Orchard Park for Training Camp.

With no OTAs, rookie mini-camp, or a preseason to get acclimated to an NFL environment, this hasn't been a typical rookie season but Epenesa says he's getting settled.

"Everyone's trying to adjust and work through it," he said. "It's been good and nice to be on the field, letting that aggression out and it's been a good transition so far."

One thing Epenesa did this off-season was attend Von Miller's pass rush summit, which went virtual this year. He knew about the summit from previous years and sent a direct message, asking to join and learn from other veterans across the league. In a Twitter post, he called it an "unreal experience".

"I got to watch and learn and listen to some great guys and some accomplished guys who taught me their ways of pass rushing and different ways to improve yourself and look for." Epenesa said. "A lot of the stuff they talked about, I knew, but they went in further depth and had a deeper knowledge. Mine was just basically scratching the surface compared to theirs and they helped me improve things I was already pretty decent at."

Epenesa is using that experience to help him at One Bills Drive, but is also hoping to learn from some of the guys he's lining up alongside. While the team hasn't been able to get to know each other as much as past years, Epenesa says he's been fortunate to have the vets around.

"When it comes to just having experience, they've been through every possible situation when it comes to playing football," he said. "All those older guys, that includes Trent [Murphy], Mario [Addison], Jerry [Hughes], they've all been very kind and generous when it comes to sharing knowledge and trying to teach me as much as they can as well."

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