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2018 NFL Draft prospect profile - Uchenna Nwosu, EDGE, USC

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Could Nwosu help the Giants find their lost pass rush?

NCAA Football: UCLA at Southern California Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have amassed a number of players for their defensive line as they move from a 4-man front to a 3-man front. However, with the trade of Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there is something of a void at outside linebacker (or EDGE) opposite of Olivier Vernon.

As it stands now, the Giants have limited options for the position, with 2017 draftee Avery Moss apparently at the next man up. James Bettcher’s reliance on speed and aggressiveness suggests that the team could look to add more depth to the position -- or perhaps even a starter -- in this year’s draft.

With that in mind, USC’s Uchenna Nwosu becomes an interesting prospect. He played the position for the Trojans, and has quietly been productive. Might that be enough to draw Dave Gettleman’s eye?

Measurables

Pros

  • Good size and frame for the position.
  • Incredible timing as a pass rusher and in knocking down passes.
  • Great athleticism.
  • Great first step. Shows nice burst and bend around the corner.
  • Uses hands well.
  • Mixes power and speed rushes.
  • Able to drop into coverage
  • Disciplined in run defense.

Cons

  • Could stand to play with more power, especially against tight ends.
  • Can struggle to stack and shed blockers - occasionally swallowed up by bigger linemen
  • Is disruptive, but can get to the QB a step too late. Production doesn’t match his ability.
  • Occasionally loses track of the ball on play fakes.
  • Late to the game of football and still learning his craft.

Prospect video

What they’re saying

“Flashes the athletic traits and speed off the edge that teams will be looking for but the overall tape is very uneven. Nwosu may not have the edge strength to handle run downs, however, if he tests well at the Combine as expected, teams may fall in love with his burst and eyeball a future role as a designated pass rusher.”

-via Lance Zierlein (NFL.com)

Does he fit the Giants?

Nwosu is a player who hasn’t been getting much media buzz, but perhaps he should be.

He slid down draft boards before the combine because his production just didn’t match up to expectations -- though his ridiculous 13 passes defensed should have raised some eyebrows. However, he put himself back on scouts’ radar with an impressive combine showing, and built on it with his Pro Day. He impressed teams so much, that he reportedly had to turn away the New York Jets because his schedule was too full to meet with them.

While Nwosu could stand to play with more of the power his 6’2”, 250 pound frame suggests, he has a terrific first step, made even better by an uncanny sense of timing. He uses that timing to get jump the snap, as well as be a menace in the passing game when he is unable to get to the passer.

With the departure of Jason Pierre-Paul and the Giants’ transition to a “multiple” 3-4 front, Nwosu provides an interesting potential as an edge player opposite of Olivier Vernon on the second day of the draft.