This might explain the Patriots-Michigan draft connection the past two years

This might explain the Patriots-Michigan draft connection the past two years

Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown has seen nine members of his defense get drafted into the NFL in the past two years, including two to the Patriots - Josh Uche about two weeks ago and Chase Winovich in 2019.

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Brown, a native of Spencer, Mass., whose coaching career includes stops at UMass (as head coach), Boston College and UConn, talked to Phil Perry on the latest edition of the Next Pats Podcast not only about how those two players fit with the Patriots but also about the influence Bill Belichick's defense has on his own coaching. 

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When he was drafted, Uche had talked about how he had studied the Patriots defense. That's because Brown has taken plenty from it. 

"That's the first place we go, Phil, in the offseason to study," Brown told Perry. "Because Coach Belichick makes such great utilization of guys and gives them the opportunity to play in different roles in different places. That's the first place we go in the offseason to evaluate, especially on third down."

Speaking of emulating the Patriots, Brown said there's a linebacker New England lost in free agency whose game is reminiscent of Uche's. 

"He reminds me a little of [Kyle] Van Noy [who left after four successful seasons with the Pats to sign with the Miami Dolphins]. I kind of see Josh in that similar type of scenario."

And are his two recent Patriots draftees similar?

"They're carbon copies of each other in terms of playing hard and doing it the right way," Brown said of Uche and Winovich.

Perry also talked to Uche himself in this episode of the Next Pats Podcast, which you can watch on YouTube below:

 

Next Pats Podcast: What are Patriots getting in LB Josh Uche from Michigan?

Next Pats Podcast: What are Patriots getting in LB Josh Uche from Michigan?

To say new Patriots linebacker Josh Uche is a quick study doesn't quite cover it.

The newly drafted linebacker from Michigan, selected in the second round, 60th overall, joined our Phil Perry via video conference on the latest edition of the Next Pats Podcast and revealed how quickly he picked up the basics of the Patriots defense and the nearly instant rapport he developed with his new position coach, former Pats linebacker Jerod Mayo.

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"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," Uche told Perry. "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."

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Perry also talked with Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown about the versatile Uche and how he'll fit with the Patriots. 

"They're getting a gym rat. A guy who just loves ball," Brown said. "He's around the building all the time, around the coaches all the time. Guys who get drafted as high as Josh have an elite quality and his ability to rush certainly jumps off the screen when you watch his tape. It's no accident because he really works hard at his craft."

Uche, 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, appeared to quickly grasp New England's "Do Your Job" philosophy when he told reporters the night he was drafted that he's perfect for the Pats because he's "a hard-ass worker." 

It's his versatility that added to his appeal to the Patriots. Still, Uche leaves little doubt about his favorite thing to do on the football field: 

"If I had to pick one, definitely it'd be pass rushing. I love pass rushing. I've been doing it since I was a kid. And it's just something I'm constantly trying to perfect."

For the complete discussion with Uche and Brown, listen to the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or watch on YouTube below:

 

Why does newly drafted LB Josh Uche fit with the Patriots? 'Because I'm a hard-ass worker'

Why does newly drafted LB Josh Uche fit with the Patriots? 'Because I'm a hard-ass worker'

The Patriots "Do Your Job" philosophy?

Bring it on, says second-round draft pick Josh Uche of Michigan. 

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“I would say it’s a good fit for me because I’m a hard-ass worker and the Patriots work their asses off,” Uche told reporters on a conference call Friday night.  “That’s first and foremost and just the Patriots themselves are very unique, very diverse, very dynamic and they do a bunch of different things. I feel like that’s who I am as a football player. I just feel like it’s definitely a perfect fit."

Being reunited with his old Michigan teammate has Patriots second-year linebacker Chase Winovich excited. He posted an Instagram video of the two combining for a sack against Penn State as Wolverines:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_aKTnRBwZg/

Uche said of joining a defense led by veteran linebacker Dont'a Hightower and safety Devin McCourty: “It inspires greatness. Those names right there just ooze greatness right there."

Listen and subscribe to Phil Perry's Next Pats Podcast here:

The 60th overall pick is 6-foot-1, 245-pound edge defender who will be counted on to fill holes vacated by the free agent departures of Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins. He said he's gotten to know a little about the Patriots defense by playing the Madden video game. 

"I was playing with the Patriots on Madden for the last couple weeks and just seeing how efficiently things run…everyone does their job, everyone is very locked in, very disciplined. Just when you say those two names, it inspires me to be great.”