What We Learned From The 2020 Draft: 

Part III. 


I’m a big Jon Uche guy, as you can tell because I did his Tape. He reminds me of Van Noy and Jamie Collins. He has some Edge traits of Van Noy, and some coverage and run stuffing traits of Collins. He was the top guy on my list to replace Van Noy or Collins. Now, they are well weathered veterans and it is going to Uche a few years to catch up. But if he stays healthy is a starter at one OLB spot. 

He is another guy who played in a schemed up defense that changed each week. "There's really no preference," Uche said. "At Michigan, Coach Brown had me do a multitude of things so it just really depends on the game plan. Whatever is needed of me, I've got to get the job done." Great versatility to play on the line or the 2nd level. 

He is a tweener like Van Noy. An OLB who has that knack for hitting the quarterback. He is shorter at 6-1, but not smaller. He was listed at 250. He weighed in at 245 at the Combine. He has great arm length with 33 5/8 inch arms. I always say I’ll take the 6-1 guy with 33.5” Arms, rather than the guy who is 6-3 5/8 with 31” arms. Great agility and balance turning the corner on the Edge. He also did 18 Reps. They will get him in the weight room and get him stronger. 

Very smart player, who understand what he is doing on the field and why, and can recall plays, like when he ran stride for stride down the seam KJ Hamler to break up the pass. "It was a very unique play. I was playing off-ball 'backer and the game plan was to force any dig route in front of me," Uche said. "So I just remember K.J. running a sluggo, which kind of made me stop and start my feet. It made me stop and play the dig. And he just took off. He booked it down the seam. 

“My responsibility was to carry anything vertical. And I just remember just running as fast as I could and playing late hands. As soon as his hands went up, just playing through his hands and keeping my composure.” Michigan’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2019. 

Terrific blitzer off the Edge. He has some speed to power. He can jolt the OLT back. He played OLB in even fronts as well. He was an Edgerusher at Michigan. Rushed on both sides. Strong legs. Got real low in stance and sometimes looked like he had a hand down but didn’t. Explosive off the snap. That is how he wins. 

He made a lot of money at the Senior Bowl. "Definitely. The stuff I did at Michigan is a representation of myself as well. The Senior Bowl, there wasn't really any restrictions or anything like that," Uche said. "I just got to be me and got a lot more opportunities and things like that. But I had opportunities at Michigan, too. So I feel like both really allowed me to showcase who am I as a person and as a player. So they were both very-very good experiences for me and helped me get to this point." He and Winovich are good friends, and he can help him with the transition; We could see Winovich and Uche in the Van Noy and Collins OLB roles. 

He covered the TE in the Slot sometimes. Blows past TE’s trying to block him like a speed bump. Plays well at arm’s length. Good hand fighter. He can slap and wrap the OT’s arms down and likes to Dip. He can set the edge with his long arms and leverage. He has a nice rip, turns back quick after the QB throws. Has some suddenness changing direction. When he loses leverage he can get pancaked. 

I liked Anfernee Jennings more than Terrell Lewis. I was clearly in the minority there. Lewis is twitchier. Jennings is stronger and better against the run. Jennings is taller, has longer arms, and is more explosive. After the Combine I had to concede that he was a better prospect. He was bigger, taller, heavier, and had longer arms. I just liked the way Anfernee played when I watched Alabama. 

He is a very hard working cat. "First, I want to just off by saying thank you to the New England organization, to the Pats. I really appreciate it and I'm glad to be here," Anfernee said. "The last two years, I learned a lot about patience and working hard and dealing with adversity and know that you can overcome anything you put your mind to and work at. As you know, my history and you know what type of player I am. I just look forward to taking on this challenge and looking forward to being in Foxboro." He and Uche will help replace Van Noy and Jamie Collins. 

Jennings had better eyes last season. He was better in the run game. He often blasted off, and then turned sideways facing the QB and peeked at him. He needs a second and third move off the blast off to reach the QB. Needs a better swipe. Too much of a read and react player. Needs to truest his instinct more. 

He sounds like a Patriot already. “Yes sir, I knew it would be possible. I just knew that it would take a lot of hard work, a lot of battling back and working hard,” Anfernee said. “Just believing in myself and doing what I had to do with everything that the coaches asked me to do, the trainers and everybody around me. I knew I could be back and even better. I'm here and I'm glad to be a part of the Patriots organization and thankful.” Top character player. 

If he can work on his technique, he could be a better Pro than college player. He might also play off the line a little with Uche and Dugger. I just think it would be interesting to see those three guys on the 2nd level attacking forward. 

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