NFL Draft Expert Has An Iowa Star Going No. 2

first_imgIowa's A.J. Epenesa reaches for Northwewstern's Clayton Thorson.IOWA CITY, IOWA- NOVEMBER 10: Quarterback Clayton Thorson #18 of the Northwestern Wildcats breaks a tackle in the second half from defensive end A.J. Epenesa #94 of the Iowa Hawkeyes, on November 10, 2018 at Kinnick Stadium, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)For the NFL teams that needed a quarterback and failed to land one in the 2019 NFL Draft, the 2020 draft looks like it will be flush with quarterbacks. But a new mock draft from a top analyst has a quarterback-needy team passing on a bunch of good ones.On Thursday, RotoWorld draft analyst Thor Nystrom posted his latest mock draft, and has the Miami Dolphins going in a different direction with the No. 2 overall pick. With Tua Tagovailoa off the board to the Oakland Raiders at No. 1, Nystrom has the Dolphins taking Iowa edge rusher A.J. Epenesa instead.Nystrom noted in his scouting report of Epenesa that he has a remarkably high ceiling in the NFL, and even referenced Houston Texas All-Pro J.J. Watt as a comparison.Believe the hype, folks. I’ve seen the monster. And the monster is real. As the NFL Draft media’s foremost consumer of Iowa football, I can tell you that the only complaint Hawkeyes fans have had about AJ Epenesa is that the coaching staff didn’t use him more as a true freshman and sophomore.[…]When this conversation comes up, J.J. Watt’s name is inevitably evoked. Epenesa had 3.5 more sacks as a two-year part-timer than Watt did in his two years as a starter at Wisconsin (Watt also had 36.5 TFL). I’m not saying, I’m just saying.We already know that Epenesa is a touched-by-God’s-hand pass-rusher. What we need for him to do next is improve against the run and prove that he can play the style he prefers to play (with his hair on fire) while out there on all three downs.Despite Epenesa’s strong case as an elite pass rusher in the NFL, there would still be a ton of potentially great NFL quarterbacks that the Dolphins would be skipping on in this scenario. Justin Herbert and Jake Fromm would both still be on the board. As for the Hawkeyes, such a selection would be the highest for any Iowa player since the Raiders took offensive lineman Robert Gallery No. 2 overall in the 2004 NFL Draft.Quarterback Randy Duncan is the only Iowa player to go No. 1 overall. He was taken first by the Green Back Packers in the 1959 NFL Draft, but never played for them.Maybe Epenesa is poised for a breakout year, and maybe he’ll wind up being the top defender in the draft. But if the Dolphins are tanking as many people seem to believe, they won’t be doing so to land a defender – even one with the ceiling of an All-Pro pass rusher.[RotoWorld]last_img read more