The New England Patriots took their second linebacker on the second day of the draft, selecting former Alabama Crimson Tide thumper Anfernee Jennings.
The Nick Saban to Bill Belichick talent pipeline remains active in 2020.
HBO released a documentary special interviewing the two football gurus not too long ago, who have been friends for many years. Belichick and Saban once upon a time were on the same staff of the Cleveland Browns, with Saban briefly serving as Belichick’s defensive coordinator while Belichick cut his teeth as a first-time NFL head coach.
Decades later, they are among the most successful icons of their respective sports. Saban has won five college football championships at Alabama (six overall — the first came at LSU), just as Belichick has won six Super Bowl titles with the Patriots (and eight overall — the first two as DC of the Giants under Bill Parcells).
Saban’s Crimson Tide players have often found their way onto New England rosters — with the most notable and recent being Dont’a Hightower. Now in 2020, the Patriots have selected another Alabama player for their defense: linebacker Anfernee Jennings.
At 6’2 and 256 lbs, Jennings was ranked as the 101st-best prospect in the NFL Draft this season according to ESPN. He ended up getting selected with the 87th overall pick, and represents the Patriots’ second linebacker taken on the second day of the 2020 NFL Draft. New England also took Michigan OLB Josh Uche at No. 60 overall in the second round.
While Uche is more of a pass-rusher who can line up at the end, Jennings projects more as a traditional run-defender. He was named first team All-SEC this past season at Alabama after compiling 83 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks, five pass breakups, one forced fumble and an interception.
Between the two of them, Belichick is clearly hoping he’s found some answers to replace the departed talents of Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy.