By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots had to trade up from the 71st spot in the 2020 NFL Draft to take Michigan linebacker Josh Uche at No. 60. Bill Belichick wasn’t just showing off.
The reason why the Patriots moved up for Uche is revealed in a new feature by Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald. The full story chronicles Uche’s path to the Patriots, which goes back to a connection between Belichick and the Michigan coaching staff.
But there’s an interesting nugget in there about Uche at the draft. Apparently, Belichick knew that if he didn’t take Uche at 60, the Chiefs, Titans, or Packers would have taken him at the end of the second round.
According to a league source, had the Patriots failed to trade up for Uche, he would have been taken by one of the teams that owned the next three picks after 60th overall; the Titans, Packers or Chiefs. Instead, late in the second round, the Pats shipped the 71st and 89th picks to Baltimore in exchange for No. 60 and a fourth-rounder. They may have drafted Division II safety Kyle Dugger first, but Uche was the original player they traded up for; one who could have the best shot at seeing significant offensive or defensive snaps in 2020 out of all the new rookies.
Must be some real cognitive dissonance for the “Belichick sucks at drafting” crowd. Well the Super Bowl LIV champions and the team that just beat the Patriots in the playoffs wanted Uche too. Someone’s doing something right here.
Uche has a chance to make a role for himself on the Patriots defense in 2020, considering their roster turnover at linebacker. But there’s still a crowded room. Uche will compete for snaps with the likes of Ja’Whaun Bentley, Chase Winovich, John Simon, Shilique Calhoun, free-agent addition Brandon Copeland, and fellow rookie Anfernee Jennings.
The talent and physical gifts are there for Uche. Belichick hopes to unearth his full potential.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.