The New England Patriots traded with the Baltimore Ravens to move back into the second round and select Michigan outside linebacker Josh Uche.
The New England Patriots may have lost one Michigan man this offseason with the departure of Tom Brady, but they added another Wolverine back to the roster on Friday night during the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft in outside linebacker/defensive end Josh Uche.
Uche’s 8.5 sacks led the Wolverines in 2019, and his 11.5 tackles for loss were the second-most among the maize and blue. At 6’1 and 245 lbs, he certainly has the physical make-up to add some beef and teeth to what is already a very talented Patriots defense.
The hope and expectation around One Patriot Place is that Uche will be able to line up at a number of positions for Bill Belichick. He’s a versatile, Swiss army knife type of player who can rush the passer, stop the run, drop back into coverage, and pretty much do anything that’s asked of him.
That all being said, as was the case with the Patriots’ other second round pick (safety Kyle Dugger), many will say the pick was a bit of a reach. Especially considering that New England traded with Baltimore to move up to get the pick (they sent picks 71 and 98 to the Ravens for 60 and 129), it’s surprising that they didn’t go with someone most draft analysts and pundits had ranked a little higher.
ESPN had Uche ranked as their 10th-best option at the position and their 95th-best prospect overall. The Patriots took Uche at No. 60 ahead of more heralded linebackers like Wisconsin’s Zack Baun, Alabama’s Terrell Lewis, Oregon’s Troy Dye, Wyoming’s Logan Wilson, and Appalachian State’s Akeem Davis-Gaither.
Uche will be asked to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks alongside fellow former Wolverine Chase Winovich. He also will be tasked with helping replace some of the lost production due to the departures of Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts, and Jamie Collins in free agency.