New England Patriots Rookie Profile: Josh Uche

The PatriotMaven rookie profile series continues on with New England's second selection of the 2020 NFL Draft, Michigan linebacker Josh Uche.
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  • Position: Linebacker
  • Age: 21 
  • Hometown: Miami, FL
  • College: Michigan

Measurables

  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 245 pounds
  • Arms: 33 5/8 inches
  • Hands: 9 1/2 inches

Combine Results

Bench Press: 18 reps

2018 was when Josh Uche made a name for himself at Michigan. In nine games, he recorded 13 total tackles, eight tackles for loss and seven sacks. But it wasn't until he became a full-time starter for this first time as a senior that he began to climb his way up the draft board. In 2019, Uche recorded 33 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, which helped him earn second-team all-conference honors. 

There's no shortage of athleticism or potential when it comes to Uche. That's why New England selected him with the 60th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. But his lack of instincts and overall inexperience had evaluators questioning in the pre-draft process how much he would produce at the next level. Uche excels as a pass-rusher, which is why he earned a 91.7 pass-rushing grade from PFF over the past two seasons. However, it's his ability off the ball that makes him versatile and a perfect match for New England's defense. 

"Uche actually going back to last year, when you look at their defense, Uche's role was a little bit bigger this year," Director of player personnel Nick Caserio said after Day 2 of the draft. "Actually had another kid Mike Dana who transferred from Central Michigan. Their defense has been pretty good. Coach Brown and their staff have done a great job. Moved around the front a little bit. Played in the perimeter. They used him some at Mike linebacker. Used him in some sub situations. He's been asked to do a number of different things in a good defense. They played him at linebacker at the Senior Bowl. Has a variety of different things that it looks like he can do."

One of the primary goals for the Patriots this offseason was to get faster on both sides of the football. Adding Uche does just that, as his speed helps him get to the quarterback while also closing in on the ball carrier at an exceptional rate. 

With the linebacker corps thin heading into the 2020 season because Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts signed with others team during free agency, Uche will likely be thrusted into a starting role during his rookie year. Because of his position flexibility and skill set, Uche projects to fill the role of Kyle Van Noy, who departed this offseason during free agency.