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NFL Draft Profile: Michigan EDGE Josh Uche

Uche brings great value as a versatile pass rusher and could remind Bengals fans of a familiar face.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

If the Bengals want to add an edge rusher on Day 2 of the draft, Michigan’s Josh Uche could be one of the top names still available.

Uche brings a diverse skillset to the NFL. This will make him valuable to a creative defensive coordinator. The Bengals may also find many similarities between him and one of their own players.

Josh Uche

Edge / Linebacker

Michigan Wolverines

Height: 6-1

Weight: 245

Red Flags: None

NFL Comp: Sam Hubbard player profile


As a pass rusher Uche has great burst on his first step and an excellent initial strike. He uses his hands well to set up and execute pass rush moves. He also has the flexibility to bend around the edge. Uche has also shown the ability to blitz the inside gaps as an off-the-ball linebacker.

Uche looks good in coverage as an outside linebacker lined up over the slot receiver. He has also shown the athletic ability to run deep with the bender in Tampa 2 coverage. He moves well in space which helps him in coverage and when making tackles. Uche has shown some ability in man coverage and could be a good matchup against tight ends.

He is a good run defender on the edge and can contain outside runs effectively.


When asked to play off-the-ball linebacker from inside the box, he did not fill gaps or disengage from blocks effectively. Uche was asked to do quite a bit in Don Brown’s Michigan defense, so it is understandable that he may not have developed the full skillset or understanding of his reads required to play every role. Still, this makes him a major projection as an off-the-ball linebacker in the NFL.

Strength and length are a concern on the line of scrimmage.

Bengals Fit

This aligns with my NFL comp. I think Uche’s perfect usage would be similar to how the Bengals used Hubbard in 2019. He should generally be holding the edge against the run and rushing the edge against the pass, but can be moved inside as a pass rusher from linebacker depth or with his hand in the ground.

He is actually better than Hubbard in coverage and could line up wide over slot receivers as well or after giving the illusion that he was going to blitz inside, he could drop off in Tampa 2 or other coverages. His size may also help him match up against tight ends man to man.

Draftability: Uche is likely to be selected in the 2nd or 3rd Round. He would be a bit of a reach at 33, but if he slips to 65 he could be an excellent selection.

Summary: Uche has the versatility to be a great moving piece on an NFL defense. He is a talented pass rusher and plays linebacker effectively outside of the box. If a team wants him to contribute as an off-the-ball linebacker, he will need to focus on developing his reads and techniques from that position.