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The Patriots are Trying to Rebuild Around Michigan Men, Draft LB Josh Uche

I can't say that I saw this one coming. In so far as Josh Uche is at bit of an Edge/Linebacker/D-lineman tweener at 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds. But I don't think it's a stretch to say they like what they got in Chase Winovich and decided another Michigan Front-7 defender was worth moving up to get with the 60th overall pick.

I'll leave it to the draft gurus to define this guy, but the consensus is that he's a scheme versatile player who can line up all over the formation and can beat blockers in more ways than one. Either as an outside rusher with productive games against newest Tampa Bay Buc tackle/Tom Brady defender Jacob Wirfs. But also by sliding inside in obvious passing downs and creating pressure from from a two-point stance in the middle, which is increasingly becoming the job description for tackles. And is an Uche specialty. According to Pro Football Focus, he racked up 46 QB pressures in just 206 pass rushing snaps. That doesn't sound at all that far removed from Winovich's rookie totals of 23 pressures (7 sacks, 3 hits, 13 hurries) in 234 pass rush attempts, when you allow for the bump in competition. 

As far as his scouting reports go, they tend to acknowledge his obvious lack of size. But at the same time acknowledge his scheme versatility, his ability to defeat blocks from guys he's giving away 70 pounds to, as well as from the smaller interior linemen.Thanks mainly to his advanced ninja arsenal of moves from swims, rips and push-pulls to bull rushes. I'm not ready to declare this a victory yet, despite his three sack game against Illinois and his eight tackle game vs. Army. Partly because I can't shake the images of fellow Wolverine Shawn Crable (78th pick in 2010) and his six career games. . But all so because Uche had nine career starts in four seasons in Ann Arbor. 

So this is one of those In Bill We Trust picks. And regardless of how it works out, Uche owes Winovich a nice Edible Arrangement to say thanks.