BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are loading up on defense at the 2020 NFL Draft, taking players for that side of the ball with their first three picks. With the 87th pick — New England’s first of the third-round — the team drafted Alabama linebacker Anfernee Jennings.
Jennings is a versatile linebacker who put up big numbers in Nick Saban’s defense for the last four years, totaling 14.5 sacks and 33.5 tackles for a loss while at Alabama. He had 193 total tackles in his four collegiate seasons, and also came up with a pair of interceptions, six passes defended and two fumble recoveries.
The 6-foot-2, 256-pound Jennings suffered a horrific knee injury in 2018 that nearly cost him his left leg. He suffered a PCL tear in the Sugar Bowl against Clemson that caused damage to the artery in his left leg and produced a blood clot. Doctors found the issue quickly and saved the leg from amputation.
But Jennings was back for his senior season, when he had 83 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. In coverage, he had five pass breakups and an interception (which he returned for a touchdown). He earned First Team All-SEC honors as a senior.
The Pats also took versatile defenders with their first two picks of the 2020 NFL Draft, going with safety Kyle Dugger out of Lenoir-Rhyne at No. 37 and linebacker Josh Uche out of Michigan at No. 60.
New England did take a few offensive players toward the end of the third round on Friday night. First, they traded up to No. 91 to draft UCLA tight end Devin Asiasi. and then traded back into the third round to take another tight end, Virginia Tech’s Dalton Keene at No. 101.
The Patriots are scheduled to make six picks on Saturday, with their first pick scheduled for the fifth round after Bill Belichick moved up three times on Friday.