LB Uchenna Nwosu, Southern California

6’2″ – 251 lbs. – 4.65

Rotated into the defense lightly and played on special teams in 2014 and 2015, then spent the following two seasons in the starting lineup, enjoying by far his most productive season as a senior. Has added thirty pounds of bulk since arriving on campus and looks like his frame is almost maxed out. Lines up as a stand-up edge rusher in the team’s 3-4 base defense, but despite his gaudy 2017 sack total, may be viewed as a candidate to transition to a more traditional off-the-line role at the next level given his borderline height, bulk, and length for a rush role. High-motor rusher who’s pretty light on his feet, with adequate get-off and speed to finish. Not the type of prospect with the speed, explosiveness, and agility to win with his speed rush and bend back to the passer; more likely to use his hands to make his way past opponents. Mixes in an inside move that he’s had some success with. Could stand to develop additional counters; has a spin move but it’s not particularly violent. Has good instincts to sniff out short passes and knock them down at the line; batted thirteen passes this past season and five as a junior. Also has some experience making limited drops into zone coverage. Motor as a pass-rusher doesn’t always carry over into the run game. Disciplined in backside pursuit against the run (if a touch slow to diagnose), and holds up better against power than his frame would suggest because of his active hands. Doesn’t take himself out of too many plays by flowing away from the play direction, but could finish plays with more physicality and aggressiveness; tends to be a pile inspector and delegate tackles to teammates. Not quite fast enough to make plays sideline-to-sideline or chase down running backs from behind. A little bit difficult to evaluate in that his primary value at the college level was as a pass-rusher, but who doesn’t really have the frame, explosiveness, or bend that teams look for on the edge. Consequently, may end up as more of a traditional linebacker for a team which allows their off-the-line players to blitz at times. Looks like a mid-round pick whose prior experience on special-teams could allow him to contribute to a team while he transitions to a role more commensurate with his physical and athletic profile.

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