Noted ‘hard-ass worker’ Josh Uche describes perfect fit with Patriots
By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Michigan linebacker Josh Uche, drafted by the New England Patriots with the No. 60 overall pick after a trade-up with the Baltimore Ravens on Friday night, likes his fit in Foxborough.
“I would say it’s a good fit for me because I’m a hard-ass worker and the Patriots work their asses off,” said Uche. “The Patriots themselves are just very unique, very diverse, very dynamic and they do a bunch of different things, and I feel like that’s who I am as a football player. I just feel like it’s definitely a perfect fit.”
A 6-foot-3 backer, Uche appeared in in all 13 contests (nine starts) for the Wolverines last year, and established a career-best 35 tackles, 8.5 sacks, two passes defended, and one fumble recovery. The Florida-born Uche’s 8.5 sacks were also the most among all Michigan players, and ranked as the 10th-most in the Big Ten.
In addition to a Patriot-like work ethic, Uche’s fit with the Patriots will almost certainly be bolstered by his experience playing in what was a complex defensive structure under Wolverines defensive coordinator Don Brown.
“A lot of guys don’t know how complex Coach Brown’s defense is – there’s so many different depths to it and levels to it and a bunch of different plays and sets and different formations you’ve got to do different things with,” said Uche. “I definitely feel prepared for what’s to come because Coach Brown is the best in the business and he makes sure his players get ready.”
The 21-year-old Uche’s perfect fit with the Patriots may have been realized via past experience with a current Patriot, too, as he was a college teammate of Chase Winovich, a player he called “his boy” from their time together on the Michigan D.
“When [Winovich] was at Michigan, I remember before every game we talked about what techniques we were going to use to beat the tackles that week,” Uche recalled. “We would just always go over the motions in practice and, ‘Okay, this move is going to work on this guy. I feel like this guy struggles with this move.’ It’s just great to be able to have that chemistry back possibly. He’s just a great guy – high-motor, high-character, high-effort guy.
“He’s just a really good human being.”
Playing as the Patriots in Madden over the last few weeks to get a feel for their defensive system — and after talking with the Patriots at the combine before some video chats with Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo — Uche always had a feeling that the Patriots could be calling his name.
“When I got the call, I just knew that it was a perfect fit for me,” Uche repeated. “I feel like the Patriots are going to maximize everything that I have to offer and they a run a tight ship just like Coach Harbaugh does – probably better and everything like that because it’s the pros. It’s just a blessing. I knew they were interested, but I didn’t know it was going to happen like this.”
A four-year Wolverine, Uche turns pro after a collegiate career that included 56 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 20.5 tackles for a loss, and three forced fumbles in 39 games.