3. A.J. Epenesa, EDGE
Cleveland boasts one of the best — if not the best — defensive ends in the game in Myles Garrett. The former first-overall pick from 2017 has developed into a force on the edge and already has the most sacks in franchise history. And he still has plenty of time left in his career to add to that total.
As for his running mate, the Browns have been alternating players across from Garrett for years. They had Olivier Vernon for a couple of seasons and then brought in Jadeveon Clowney in 2021 and re-signed him to another one-year deal in 2022.
When that relationship soured, they traded for Za’Darius Smith and signed Ogbo Okoronkwo. Smith is a free agent and while Okoronkwo had a great season, he’s more of a pass-rushing specialist than a true defensive end. That’s why it would make sense to target someone such as A.J. Epenesa from the Buffalo Bills.
A second-round pick from Iowa, Epenesa had just 2.5 sacks over his first two seasons in the league. He’s since turned it around with 6.5 in 2022 and 2023. He’s also known for holding his own against the run, which was a specialty for the 6-6, 260-pounder in college. Cleveland could try and lure him away from Buffalo and if so, using him and Okoronkwo across from Garrett could be a winning combination.