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Analysis: Josh Uche's Return Reinforces Patriots Pass Rush

The Patriots will keep another one of their 2020 draft picks according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.

Patriots linebacker Josh Uche
Patriots linebacker Josh Uche

The Patriots officially announced they have re-signed edge rusher Josh Uche on a one-year deal in a move that will add needed reinforcement to their defensive pass rush.

Combined with earlier reports of second-round pick Kyle Dugger receiving the Transition Tag and sixth-round pick Michael Onwenu signing a hefty three-year deal, keeping the former second-rounder Uche ensures the 2020 picks will remain with the team at least through the 2024 season, providing a valuable element of continuity.

Uche had a breakout season in 2022 playing across from Matthew Judon, posting 11.5 sacks and showing the finishing ability he demonstrated at Michigan. Without Judon for most of 2023, Uche saw his production fall off to just three sacks, but he remained a consistently disruptive force on the most important down in football.

He might be mostly limited to those third downs, but he has the athleticism necessary to deal with today's highly mobile quarterbacks who can often escape even the most talented pass rushers. Uche has a specific set of skills and they're skills that every defense needs to close out games properly.

The former Wolverine spoke glowingly of new head coach Jerod Mayo earlier this offseason when talking to Tom E. Curran of the Patriots Talk podcast.

"In my opinion, Jerod Mayo is a great hire," said Uche. "When I first got here, Jerod was my position coach. I was very young, had a lot of maturing to do. He had a lot of patience with me and just the lens he sees the game through is just a very creative lens and gives the players a lot of flexibility to maximize their talents. So, I think Coach Mayo is a great hire."

While it's only a one-year deal, Uche should be betting on himself, especially if Judon can return to form and the Patriots continue to make improvements to their pass rush. Christian Barmore's ascension in 2023 will also be a factor as the Patriots should continue to terrorize opponents at a high rate, a hugely important factor for any defense.

DISCLAIMER: The views and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the writer and don't necessarily reflect those of the organization. Read Full Disclaimer

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