Defensive end A.J. Epenesa would provide a high boost for the Arizona Cardinals

Bringing in defensive help off the edge from an AFC powerhouse would benefit the Cardinals.

Buffalo Bills v Washington Commanders
Buffalo Bills v Washington Commanders / G Fiume/GettyImages

One of the more underrated defensive ends who shined in 2023 is Buffalo Bills' A.J. Epenesa, who is set to test out the free agent market. Epenesa was drafted in the second round in the 2020 NFL draft out of the University of Iowa. He had a rough first two seasons in Buffalo, being a healthy scratch for various games and racking up only 2.5 sacks in two seasons. However, the last two seasons have been an improvement for Epenesa.

He has 13 sacks in the last two years and has had a major improvement in his pass-rush ability. Throughout last season, his presence was felt off the edge in 3rd down situations where he provided pressure and forced the quarterback to make a mistake. He had career highs in total tackles (20), pass deflections (8), a forced fumble and fumble recovery, as well as two interceptions (one was a pick six in Week 3 against the Washington Commanders).

Now of course, his best season came in his contract year like most players. Although, he showed flashes of what he is capable of and if the Buffalo Bills are not able to bring him back to the team, the Arizona Cardinals need to boost their pass rush with Epenesa.

Even though Epenesa is not the star pass-rusher out on the market, he still provides talent off the edge that the Cardinals need to pressure opposing quarterbacks. The Cardinals had only 33 sacks from their defense last season, (linebacker Dennis Gardeck led the team with 6 sacks) which was near the bottom of the league.

It would make sense for Arizona to address the defensive end position in the draft for the future, but getting Epenesa on a two or three year deal would help with the development and be an immediate upgrade on the defense.