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What to Know About Patriots' 2nd Round Pick, LB Josh Uche

The New England Patriots make a second selection in the second round, adding even more athleticism to their defense.

It would be safe to say after the New England Patriots' first two selections in the 2020 NFL Draft that their main goal on defense is to get more athletic. 

With their second pick of the second round (No. 60) - which they traded with the Ravens to acquire - the Patriots selected Josh Uche, outside linebacker out of Michigan.

Uche - much like New England's first selection of the night, safety Kyle Dugger - is another uber-athletic prospect that can do a little bit of it all. 

Here's the best way to put into perspective how athletic Uche is: in the Michigan-Penn State game this past season, we saw Uche sprint 50 yards downfield to cover and break up a pass intended for now-Broncos receiver K.J. Hamler. Hamler - for those who do not know - was in many people's minds as fast, if not faster, than Alabama's Henry Ruggs (who ran a 4.27 in the 40 yard dash). However, Hamler did not run the 40 yard dash during the pre-draft process. But it is nevertheless a strong display of athleticism from Uche to cover Hamler downfield like that. 

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As for his pass-rushing ability, Uche seems to get in the backfield so quickly that lineman struggle to get their hands on him. His speed and explosiveness pop out on film, which will bode well for his projected role as the new strong-side outside linebacker. 

Another similarity that Uche shares with his fellow second round pick Dugger is versatility. While Dugger can potentially play all around the secondary and potentially even some Will linebacker, Uche can play both on the defensive line and off the ball. This was a trait that New England coveted in former strong-side outside linebacker, Kyle Van Noy. That trend will likely continue with Uche. 

With versatile pieces like Adrian Phillips, Dugger, and Uche now on the defense, it's going to be really exciting to see the different ways in which all these players are used. Combine that with the sudden infusion of athleticism in this group and that should make this defense really fun to watch this year.