- Position: EDGE
- Age: 22
- Hometown: Dadeville, AL
- College: Alabama
- Height: 6-foot-2
- Weight: 256 pounds
- Arms: 32 7/8 inches
- Hands: 9 1/8 inches
You won't find many players coming out of the SEC with more experience than Anfernee Jennings. After playing in 15 games as a redshirt freshman, Jennings played in a total of 48 games over the next four years at Alabama, logging 193 total tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks and 18 passes defended. In 2019 he earned first-team All-SEC honors after gathering 83 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks and five passes defended in 13 games started. Stuffing the stats sheets during his career screams one thing that we continue to find in players on the Patriots roster: versatility.
As a 3-4 outside linebacker, Jennings takes advantage of his length and physicality to set the edge and play technically-sound, assignment-oriented football. But what stuck out the most during his final collegiate season is how much he excelled as a pass-rusher. He earned an 88.2 pass-rush grade from PFF last season, which is just shy of elite territory. However, Jennings was not nearly as productive as a pass-rusher in prior years at Alabama, which is why his consistency as a pass-rusher pre-2019 and lack of athleticism made him a surprise pick in the third round according to PFF.
"Jennings, just shooting over to him quick, he was another sort of sit-and pick," Director of player personnel Nick Caserio said after Day 2 of the NFL Draft about Jennings. "That 87th pick was really one of our original picks, I believe. Obviously he comes from a great program with a lot of great players. Coach Saban, what he's done at Alabama, I mean, hard to match what he's done. They put out a lot of good players. You saw it in this draft. However many players they had drafted, it was a lot, which it usually is every year. This kid is a really tough, tough kid. A little bit bigger in terms of size than Uche. Jennings is 255, 260. Uche kind of 240, 245. Different defenses. But had some elements where they were used kind of similarly.
"Jennings has a background playing a couple different spots. Really tough, good leadership. They're call-them-into-the-line-of-scrimmage type players, front seven type players. How they'll project into our system we'll see. Obviously we're pretty multiple up front, multiple schemes on defense, so these guys have been asked to do a number of different things in their respective systems."
As a permanent captain for the Nick Saban-led squad in 2019, Jennings brings leadership qualities to a Patriots defense that lost one of their leaders this offseason in Kyle Van Noy. Because of his abilities as an edge defender, he projects to fill the role of Jamie Collins, who left during free agency to sign with the Lions. New England was thin at linebacker heading into the draft, which is why Jennings projects to have a sizable workload during his rookie season in New England.