Anfernee Jennings

Patriots Rumors: Injury Updates, Zappe, Perkins

The Patriots released some practice photos recently and, according to Zack Cox of NESN, some of the pictures seem to indicate the much anticipated returns of several previously-injured Patriots. These players included running back James White, cornerback Jonathan Jones, tight end Dalton Keene, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, and linebacker Anfernee Jennings.

White suffered a hip injury last year that required surgery serious enough to end his season and leave him bedridden for months. He hasn’t been fully cleared to return, but seeing him active on the field bodes well for his recovery.

Jones had surgery to repair his shoulder in October and missed the remainder of the season in recovery. McMillan tore his ACL before the season started, but impressed in his limited time before the injury. Keene and Jennings were both placed on injured reserve in August and missed the entire season as a result.

Here are a few other rumors from New England:

  • New England turned some heads on Day 3 of the Draft when they selected quarterback Bailey Zappe in the fourth round. At a point in the Draft where some teams normally address their positional needs, the Patriots selected a quarterback in the first draft after rookie passer Mac Jones led them to the playoffs. For an explanation, ESPN’s Mike Reiss pointed to a discussion with analysts Todd McShay and Louis Riddick, in which they cover “how it can be good business to draft and develop quarterbacks.” He also quotes former NFL general manger Randy Mueller who applauded the pick, saying that he would rather draft for value over need at that point in the Draft.
  • After not appearing in any regular season games last season, second-year Patriots outside linebacker Ronnie Perkins is ready to take the next step, according to Reiss. Perkins was buried on the depth chart behind Kyle Van Noy, now with the Chargers, and Jamie Collins, now a free agent. The departure of Van Noy and Collins leaves a hole opposite Pro Bowl pass rusher Matt Judon and Reiss reports that New England coaches are confident Perkins is getting ready to step up.

Patriots Reduce Roster To 53

The Patriots made headlines earlier today when they cut quarterback Cam Newton, a move that made rookie Mac Jones the starter. The team has since reduced their roster to 53 players, and we’ve detailed each of the moves (including those previously reported) below:

Released

Waived

Placed on Reserve/PUP list

Placed on Reserve/NFI list

Placed on Injured Reserve

The Patriots veterans are most notable, but the organization also waived a pair of 2021 draft picks. Sherman was a sixth-round pick out of Colorado who appeared in 30 games during his collegiate career. Nixon was a seventh-round pick; the wideout split his collegiate career between Ole Miss and Central Florida, earning All-AAC honors in 2019.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/7/20

We’ll keep track of today’s late round signings here:

  • The Ravens inked third-round pick Tyre Phillips. With the Mississippi State offensive lineman under contract, the Ravens have now taken care of seven of their ten draft picks. Phillips played tackle in college, but he’ll likely move to the inside with Marshal Yanda retiring.
  • The Texans signed offensive tackle Charlie Heck, their fourth-round tackle.
  • The Patriots signed third-round linebacker Anfernee Jennings (Alabama), sixth-round guard Michael Onwenu (Michigan), and seventh-round center Dustin Woodard (Memphis), according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Jennings wasn’t the most athletic rusher in this year’s class, but his hard-nosed playing style and technique made him a strong fit for Bill Belichick‘s defense. BB’s relationship with ‘Bama head coach Nick Saban likely helped to lead Jennings to New England. The Pats have also inked kicker Justin Rohrwasser, linebacker Cassh Maluia, and tackle Justin Herron (all of whom are Day 3 picks), leaving only three unsigned players in their ten-player draft class.
  • The Bills signed a trio of picks from the back of their draft, per a club announcement: sixth-round kicker Tyler Bass, sixth-round wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins, and seventh-round cornerback Dane Jackson. Hodgins, out of Oregon State, managed 86 receptions for 1,171 yards and 13 touchdowns in his final year on campus.
  • The Dolphins inked a pair of fifth-round edge rushers in Curtis Weaver (Boise State) and Jason Strowbridge (UNC), as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. The bulk of their 11-man draft class still remains unsigned, so there’s more work to be done.