Bills training camp preview: Defensive end

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) reacts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Orchard park, N.Y., Saturday Jan. 16, 2021. (AP/ Photo Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Strength: Depth

The Bills have no shortage of edge rushers. Veterans Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison are the starters, but they have plenty of depth below them.

First round pick Greg Rousseau was drafted out of the University of Miami and added Wake Forest edge rusher Boogie Basham in the second round. They may not make an immediate impact, but they will have the opportunity to learn under incredible veterans. AJ Epenesa rounds out the group as a second-year player.

Weakness: Age

There is a twelve year age difference from Rousseau, the youngest at 21, and Mario Addison, the oldest at 33. In football years, that might as well be a lifetime.

Different age groups have different possible challenges facing them. If injured, Addison and Hughes could face a longer recovery time. The rookies could experience shaky play due to a lack of experience in Leslie Frazier’s defense.

That negative is helped by the positive of having so much depth.

X-Factor: AJ Epenesa

The 2020 second round pick got off to a slow start last season, starting out Week 1 as a healthy scratch. He worked his way into more consistent play but never impressed.

This summer, Epenesa is experiencing his firs true NFL offseason and his second training camp with the Bills. With more time, energy, and consisteny, Epenesa could have a breakout season without Trent Murphy around.

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