Patriots News: 2nd-Round Pick Josh Uche Agrees to 4-Year Rookie Contract

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2020

Michigan linebacker Josh Uche (6) plays against Rutgers in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The New England Patriots and linebacker Josh Uche, a second-round pick, reached an agreement Wednesday on a four-year rookie contract.

Drew Rosenhaus, Uche's agent, confirmed the deal to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The 21-year-old University of Michigan product is coming off a strong senior season for the Wolverines. He recorded 33 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble across 12 appearances in 2019 to earn second-team All-Big Ten honors. He also tallied seven sacks in 2018.

Uche said Tuesday on the Next Pats Podcast (via Patrick Dunne of NBC Sports Boston) that he was able to learn the Patriots defense easily thanks to linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, who spent eight years helping lead the New England defense on the field before joining the staff:

"The first WebEx meeting I had with the Patriots was with coach Mayo and he taught me the defense in, I'd want to say, two minutes. And he taught it to me so well that I was able to recite it to him after when he started asked questions, 'OK, what do you do when this happens, this, this and this?' That's just a testament how good a coach he is just in a short amount of time he could teach me the basics of the defense. I definitely feel like coach Mayo is the best in the business."

Uche was one of two defenders the Patriots selected in the second round. They also took safety Kyle Dugger after not making a pick in the opening round.

New England will lean even more heavily on its defense, which ranked first in both yards and points allowed last season, to lead its playoff pursuit in 2020 after legendary quarterback Tom Brady left in free agency to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Uche is set to compete with the likes of Shilique Calhoun and Brandon Copeland for a starting job as a rookie, and his quick work learning the defensive scheme should help his cause.