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2020 NFL draft: 3 reasons why the Patriots selected Alabama DE Anfernee Jennings

The Patriots go back to the Saban well.

NFL Combine - Day 5 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

New England came into the 2020 draft with clear intentions: to get younger, and to address losses on defense — and particularly their front-seven. So, with the 87th pick in the draft, Bill Belichick selected Crimson Tide pass rusher Anfernee Jennings.


As with the Uche selection 27 picks prior, Jennings will help address a depleted edge rushing department that saw Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins leave in free agency this offseason. He also will provide competition to Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise.


The Saban-to-Belichick pipeline is back up and running as the cerebral edge defender brings intelligence and instincts to the Patriots’ defense. The Patriots also covet production in a competitive environment, and it doesn’t get much better than Jennings’s First-Team All-SEC selection in 2019.


Touching again on the Saban connection, Jennings translates to the Van Noy role in the Patriots’ hybrid front. He’s a good edge setter, and rushes with a plan, but his size and lack of pure athleticism will likely cap his potential as a pass rusher — which Bill Belichick can live with as long as he carries his fundamentals to the next level.


How would you grade the Patriots drafting Anfernee Jennings?

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