New England Patriots third-round pick Anfernee Jennings is drawing comparisons to two players who has had success under Bill Belichick.
The Bill Belichick and Nick Saban connection is at work again. In being selected the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, edge rusher Anfernee Jennings is the latest Alabama player to make the pipeline to Foxboro, and he is forecasted to be a good one.
As mostly a stand-up 3-4 outside linebacker at college, Jennings has drawn comparisons to a player who recently left the Patriots in free agency in Kyle Van Noy. If he brings that kind of production to Belichick’s defense that would be just fine, but NFL Network’s Charles Davis feels he will be much more.
Well, bring it on.
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But, the two Patriots defenders Davis is comparing him too gives him some big shoes to fill before the Alabama product has even showed what he can do in that nifty new Patriots’ uniform.
The first player he is being compared to is another Alabama product who is currently one of the leaders on defense.
“He can rush the passer of the edge, so he has some of that Dont’a Hightower in him,” Davis told the Boston Herald. “He’s got those heavy-type hands that help set an edge with a blocker. He just has that versatility you’re looking for. He can probably put his hand in the ground and rush and stand up and drop into coverage when you need to and swing inside when you want him to.”
Sounds like the prototype linebacker for a Bill Belichick defense. In line with a Rob Ninkovich, Kyle Van Noy and even Hightower, it is that versatility that will make Anfernee Jennings a fan favorite in New England, especially if he produces anywhere near those three players and like this player who was a major part of the early 2000s dynasty.
“He’s like the old Sam linebacker, kind of like what [Mike] Vrabel used to be,” Davis continued. “Just get over the tight end, beat the heck out of him, and good luck getting off the line of scrimmage.”
Definitely a lot of praise for a player selected in the third round, but the New England Patriots have recently had some success drafting in that round. While we still don’t know what 2017 third-round pick Derek Rivers will be, Bill Belichick has found success with 2015 third-round pick Trey Flowers.
With both his size and strength, along with playing with and learning from Dont’a Hightower, let’s hope Anfernee Jennings is the next gem found in the later early rounds. He certainly has a familiar edge to him and Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots will find ways to set him up for success.