Josh Uche is one of the best prospects that you might not have heard of. The linebacker/edge rusher spent a few seasons at the University of Michigan playing in the shadows of guys like Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary. However, Uche was one fo the better players on the Wolverines defense over the past two years.
Uche played SAM linebacker while at Michigan. In 2018 he totaled seven sacks and in 2019 he totaled 8.5. He constantly applied pressure in the backfield. And in several games he also showed the ability to drop back and cover in space.
“I believe I'm a linebacker that can play off the ball first two downs, then third-down go get the quarterback,” Uche said at the combine.
“So right now talking to teams, I think that's the feel I'm getting. It also depends on the scheme. If it's a 3-4 then obviously I'll be on the edge but if it's a 4-3 team that's what it's looking like.”
Uche didn’t participate at the combine, but he did have his own pro day recently when he was on the field alone going through drills and he seems to have recovered from the hamstring injury he sustained at the senior bowl.
At the senior bowl, Uche showed the ability to rush the passer and cover some running back out of the backfield, which shows his versatility. He will likely play SAM linebacker in the NFL, but he will be asked to rush the passer a lot as that is what he does best.
Todd McShay of ESPN currently has, Uche ranked as a tier 5 player in his 2020 NFL Draft Tier Rankings. He has tier five players as one with mid to late second-round value, and guys who can make good NFL starters one day.
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CBS Sports has Uche ranked as the 53rd best prospect in the draft and the seventh-best edge rush prospect on their big board.
They cite Uche for having an off-ball linebacker versatility and effective inside counter move. However, they do knock him for being an undersized edge rusher and have a good, not great pass rush arsenal.
Sports Illustrated ranked Uche as the No. 61 player in the draft.
The general consensus on Uche is that he’s a day two prospect that will specialize in rushing the passer and blitzing. He will also drop back in coverage when needed.
The Falcons could use a player like him. Although they signed Dante Fowler Jr. in free agency, they still need to add to their pass rush. They also need a linebacker, and Uche can fill both roles.
If Uche is around for the Falcons in the third round they should pull the trigger without any hesitation.
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