The New England Patriots went back to pass-rushing well in the third round by taking Alabama outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings.
While the Patriots’ last pick, Michigan’s Josh Uche, is a hybrid linebacker/edge defender, Jennings is more of a traditional edge defender at 6-foot-3, 259 pounds. Jennings didn’t work out at the NFL Scouting Combine but produced well at Alabama with 44 total pressures on 294 pass-rush snaps as a senior in 2019, per Pro Football Focus. He was a three-year contributor with the Crimson Tide, registering 41 pressures on 200 snaps in 2017 and 39 pressures on 330 snaps in 2018 as he played through injuries.
Jennings also brought 35 run stops in 2019. PFF graded him well as a pass rusher and run defender in 2019.
Jennings probably won’t help much in coverage, but he did have 11 batted passes split between 2018 and 2019. So, he’s good at sticking his arms up from the line and disrupting passes.
The Patriots needed additional depth at defensive end and outside linebacker. Now they’ve added Uche and Jennings to a group that included Chase Winovich, John Simon, Deatrich Wise and Derek Rivers. The Patriots lost one of their top edge players in Kyle Van Noy to free agency.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Patriots used Uche as more of an off-the-line linebacker given his size at 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, while Jennings could play as an on-the-line outside linebacker or defensive end.
The Patriots used their first pick on Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger.