You only can put so much stock in what takes place during NFL minicamps, but spring practices nonetheless can yield optimism surrounding certain players.
Take Josh Uche, for example. The 2020 second-round pick impressed as a rookie last season in limited action and entered New England’s three-day camp as a player to keep an eye on. Not only did the Michigan product shine in pass-rushing situations, but his alignment over the course of camp suggests the Patriots coaching staff has big plans for him in the upcoming season.
For these reasons, ESPN tabbed Uche as the “surprise standout” of Patriots minicamp.
“The 2020 second-round pick from Michigan played 17 percent of the defensive snaps as a rookie, but looks primed for a significant jump this season,” Mike Reiss wrote. “It was notable to see him paired with top linebackers Dont’a Hightower, Matt Judon, Ja’Whaun Bentley and Kyle Van Noy, and his speed, suddenness and potential as a disruptive pass-rusher were on display in multiple drills.”
Linebacker was an area of weakness for the Patriots in their underwhelming 2020 season. But with the potential emerge of Uche, some new players in the fold and the return of Hightower, New England’s LB corps could be a great strength for Bill Belichick’s team in 2021.