As the season wore on, more draft analysts became intrigued with Michigan outside linebacker Josh Uche. The 6-foot-2, 255-pound redshirt junior recently declared for the 2020 NFL draft and has accepted a Senior Bowl invite.
First, his name started to appear in the Day 3 range. Now you can find Uche’s name as high as the second round in some mock drafts.
“Uche developed into a good pass rusher at Michigan, and now the question is whether he can do so in the NFL at 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds,” Yahoo Sports’ Eric Edholm wrote in his list of underclassmen who have declared for the draft.
“If he can show at the Senior Bowl that he can play on his feet, Uche could land in the top 100 picks.”
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) December 3, 2019
So what kind of player will Uche be at the next level?
Size-wise, he compares to Chase Winovich, who went in the third round last year to New England. Winovich has had a solid rookie season, putting up 5.5 sacks and 13 tackles. But the thought on Winovich coming into last year’s draft was that his size made him scheme-specific: probably too small to play full-time as a defensive end in a 4-3, thereby limiting him to a 3-4 outside linebacker.
But New England plays him all over the line, currently listing Winovich as a defensive end – traditionally reserved for bigger players.
So, with the right coach, Uche isn’t necessarily locked into any particular position.
The main question Uche has to answer? Can he stop the run. Uche finished the season with 34 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, all career-highs. Uche was essentially a designated pass-rusher before
“Uche has picked up right where Chase Winovich left off last year, with a 90.3 pass-rushing grade this season. He’s another player who will need to prove he can get to around 250 pounds and still rush the passer well in Mobile. With only a 69.7 run defense grade, he may be seen only as a designated pass-rusher or an off-ball linebacker in the NFL.”
Forever Go Blue 💙💛 pic.twitter.com/PtZxSrYuFm
— Josh Uche (@_Uche35) December 4, 2019