Last year, the New England Patriots drafted a Michigan edge rusher in the third round. On Friday, they traded up to land another in the second.
The Patriots dealt pick Nos. 71 and 98 to the Baltimore Ravens for the 60th overall pick and used it to select Josh Uche, a former teammate of 2019 New England draftee Chase Winovich.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 25, 2020
Uche started just one season for the Wolverines and played just 52.8 percent of Michigan’s defensive snaps in 2019, but he was incredibly productive as a pass rusher.
According to Pro Football Focus, Uche ranked second among all FBS edge rusher in both pressure rate and pass-rush win rate last season, finishing with a team-high 8 1/2 sacks and 11 1/2 tackles for loss. He was similarly disruptive in 2018 despite seeing significantly lower playing time, registering seven sacks on just 97 pass-rush snaps.
Uche did not test at the NFL Scouting Combine as he recovered from a hamstring injury suffered at the Senior Bowl, but his athleticism is evident on film. One question mark with him is his size (6-foot-1, 245 pounds), as he’s smaller than most NFL edge rushers and could struggle against the run at the NFL level.
NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah compared Uche to former Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who, like Uche, has the ability to line up either on the edge and off the ball.
The Patriots also selected a defensive player with their first pick in the 2020 draft, nabbing Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger at No. 37 overall.