NAME: Joshua Uche
POSITION: Defensive End/Linebacker
WEIGHT: 242 pounds
We have already touched on a handful of versatile players in our Chiefs draft prospect profiles. Today, this prospect will definitely that trend. He has the ability to win as a pass rusher. Or, the Michigan product can generally thrive in zone coverage. Opinions are all over the place for this player. Now, let’s go ahead and give our opinion with a breakdown of Joshua Uche.
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Pass Rush Moves
Overall, Uche seems to excel more as a pass rusher when he can use his speed to his advantage. He displays a quick release out of his three point stance. Most of the time, he will win by pushing offensive linemen backwards. Uche will then look to work deeper by reading the linemen’s hips afterwards. Overall, his length and power is what can give opposing blockers fits. Teams will have to be creative with how they design his blitzes. Because, Uche does not enter the NFL with too much experience as a natural pass rusher.
Besides using that above average speed, Uche has a good use of bend to his game. He does a decent job of setting the edge and shows the effort to force ball carriers to move east and west all the way to the sideline. This led to many gang tackles by the Michigan defense. To boot, Uche displays some swivel in his hips. That can help him to change direction quickly, or when dropping back in coverage. Uche does have reps where he will overcompensate. But, his recovery ability is unexplainably good.
For the most part, Uche is an ample tackler. Though, he is going to need more fine tuning as a tackler. His feet can stop at times and he can lose balance in space. If Uche can get up high and on top of you, he will be fine. The strength, length and power of his just suffocates skill players. Because of the good tackle radius, it can be difficult to break tackles against someone like him. Furthermore, you will see Uche fly through opponents when he is feeling good and lets his hips drive through.
Despite playing primarily defensive end, there were plenty of reps where Uche lined up at middle linebacker or off ball linebacker and had success. Against faster receivers, he recognizes when to time his hip sink to turn and run downfield. His above average speed leads to some pass breakups where quarterbacks are totally surprised. How? The receiver looks open. But if the ball is underthrown, Uche gets his long arms up to break the play up. He is surprisingly impressive at face guarding. In addition, he does not play too reckless to get called for penalties. Finally, Uche is probably more confident in this area than what people are giving him credit for.
As I have mentioned with other draft prospect profiles, it is an added bonus to have versatile hybrid defenders in Steve Spagnuolo‘s defense. If you can design creative blitz packages for him, Uche will attack from any angle in any gap. He can play from a three point stance or standing up. Uche is a bit lax in experience. For example, he did not have a significant role at Michigan until 2019. If he is allowed to work more in space, success can be had early on, however. Uche can likely fit as a WILL linebacker that can play both on the second level or on the edge.
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– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.