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NFL Draft Profile: EDGE Anfernee Jennings

Our Logan Lamorandier profiles Alabama EDGE defender Anfernee Jennings

The Lions will be on the hunt for a boost at the EDGE position this offseason -- whether it be a down defensive end playing behind Trey Flowers or a DE that will potentially split time and eventually replace Devon Kennard. 

Kennard is in the last year of a three-year deal he signed in 2018. Despite being a solid role player, he is far from irreplaceable.

One player that seems to be a "fit" in the Lions' defense is Anfernee Jennings out of Alabama. 

Here is a breakdown of Jennings' skill set and how he would fit in Detroit head coach Matt Patricia's defense:

EDGE Anfernee Jennings, Alabama

Class: Redshirt senior

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 259 pounds

Stats: 2017 - One sack; 2018 - 5.5 sacks; 2019 - Eight sacks

Coming out of high school, Jennings was a consensus four-star recruit, and proceeded to be redshirted as a freshman in 2015. 

As an NFL Draft prospect, he is more of a mid-round pick.

Important to note, Lions defensive line coach Bo Davis was the defensive line coach at Alabama from 2014-15. So, there is likely some familiarity already in place.

It's no secret that Patricia and Detroit general manager Bob Quinn have a penchant for taking former Alabama players (i.e. Da'Shawn Hand and A'Shawn Robinson). 

The Crimson Tide run a scheme that translates well to what the Lions expect from their front seven, and Jennings is no exception. 

Now, the Alabama product isn't big enough to necessarily be a hand-on-the-ground type of defender. However, his size would be ideal in the JACK role, a la Kennard.

Jennings will not "wow" anybody with his bend or athleticism around the edge. 

That's quite alright by the Lions, though, if their current group of edge rushers is any example. 

Maybe the Lions will look to diversify this year after a dreadful 2019. 

However, with pure speed, there usually comes a lack of power. 

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As Patricia said while mic'd up at the Senior Bowl, "No one that rushes the passer well uses finesse. It’s all power.”

Well, it just so happens that Jennings' best attribute is his strength. 

His "long-arm" move is Patricia's favorite to help control offensive linemen. 

Jennings' precise hand placement to keep linemen off him is a huge component of how he wins reps. 

Whether it was stopping the run or getting to the quarterback, the fifth-year senior was usually able to manhandle his college opponents.

With an impressive 88.8 run-stop grade from Pro Football Focus, Jennings is well above average in that department. 

We'll see if he is still able to out-physical offensive linemen once he gets to the next level, though.

There are some concerns with Jennings outside of average athleticism as well. 

He has a bit of an injury history that stunted his 2018 campaign, as well as a tendency to jump the snap in order to make up for his lack of burst. 

He committed 10 penalties in 2019 alone.

Due to his limitations, he has a lower ceiling. But, as a mid-round selection, he would have a high floor due to his high football IQ, technique and overall understanding of leverage. 

Those traits just scream a "Quinn-type" selection.

Per Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network:

"Big and thick build that lends itself to screaming power rushes of the EDGE. Can work the one-arm long-arm and the two-arm bull rush to keep chestplate clean, which leads to a high number of pass-breakups and clean-up sacks. Can work off the long-arm to a hump move or a club-rip, though the frequency and success of these moves are worrisome for a potential three-down pass rusher. Understands how to attack weak point in OTs hand placement to disengage against the run; plays with a low and wide base and great vision to stack, shed, and finish."


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