NFL Draft Profile: Josh Uche

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Going into the Senior Bowl, I wanted to get a better look at Bradlee Anae, who is one of my favorite pass-rushing prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. Matched up across from Michigan pass rusher Josh Uche, the duo was unstoppable.

Anae ended up with three sacks and a forced interception, but it was Uche who came away graded as Pro Football Focus’ top player in the game. He was able to produce 5 QB pressures over 11 pass-rushing snaps. In the practices, he could be stopped by no one. Both he and Anae were in the opposing backfield all day long and present quality pass-rushing options outside of the first round.

Uche would be a great guy to pair with a veteran pass rusher or a higher draft pick and could go as high as the second round. Though he was quiet in the Wolverines’ bowl game against Alabama, the Senior Bowl has put him on more radars. He does not have much college experience but has impressed over the past two seasons. However, the four year player out of Michigan with just 26 games under his belt was able to accumulate 15.5 career sacks.

Uche has terrific burst and bend:

That is elite lower-body movement. He also uses his long arms to get to the quarterback.

Uche has shown promise as a rusher as well as playing off-ball, where he spent around 30% of his snaps. He has an ideal combination of speed and length, though he can afford to add some more weight. A versatile piece that Dan Quinn could have some fun with, Uche may fit best at WILL linebacker in the NFL. He is essentially a hybrid between an EDGE rusher and a linebacker, and this versatility is a big reason why Uche has become such an early riser in the NFL Draft process.

As you can see, Uche has a nose for opposing backfields. His aggressive pass-rushing ability offers a ton of pressure even when he does not get to the quarterback. He is quick, bendy and elusive, while also being very athletic, allowing him to go down the field in coverage with great closing speed, which also helps him against the run:

Uche has also shown the ability to turn this speed into power against opposing lineman.

The biggest red flag for Uche is his lack of college experience and some past injuries, including a torn meniscus. But he was the Wolverines’ leading pass rusher the last two seasons for a reason. If Uche adds some weight, he should at the very least be a quality rotational pass rusher on the outside. On 206 career pass-rushing snaps, he forced pressure on 46 of them, from bullrushes to stand up rushes.

The Falcons could certainly use Uche. He can do a bit of everything, and an NFL team may be able to tap into his skill set more than the opportunities he received at Michigan.

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