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2018 NFL Draft Scouting Reports: Uchenna Nwosu could be the ‘Boom’ sleeper in the class

In a draft loaded with defensive playmakers, Uchenna Nwosu could end up being a sleeper in this years draft.

Stanford v USC Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The NFL Draft is coming up this Thursday which means we get to see former USC Trojans move on to the next level of football. Some may have their name called on the first day and some may have to wait a while.

Overall it should be a great day for many Trojans. In this article we take an in depth look at Trojans linebacker Uchenna Nwosu. The senior linebacker had an outstanding 2017 season that caught the attention of many NFL scouts. During Nwosu’s senior season he had 75 tackles, 11.5 of those behind the line of scrimmage, and 9.5 sacks. He also had a total 19 passes deflected in his last two seasons at USC.

We take an in depth look at what many believe is one of the more underrated prospects in the 2018 draft class.

Arizona State v USC Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Measurables

Height: 6’2

Weight: 251

Arms: 33 5/8

Hands: 9”

NFL Combine Results

40 Yard Dash: 4.65

Bench: 20 Reps

Vertical: 32.0

Broad Jump: 119.0

Nwosu had a pretty impressive NFL combine, but it wasn’t mind blowing. NFL.com grades him at 5.65 which ranks him at No.4 among Edge rushers. Nwosu displayed his athleticism and speed at the combine which was something scouts loved on film. He is also fluid in his drop backs and coverage drills. Nwosu opted not to do the shuttle runs and cone drills at the combine, instead done them at the USC pro day.

USC Pro Day Results (per Draft Scout.com)

Broad Jump: 9’09

20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.27

3 Cone Drill: 7.05

Nwosu had a better performance at the USC pro day. So impressive that teams couldn’t get a chance to host a workout with him because he was booked up. The broad jump was two inches worse than his combine jump, but nothing significant. If anything Nwosu had a better pro day than combine and that could be in part of him being in a familiar environment.

Strengths

One of Nwosu’s strengths is his speed and explosiveness coming off the edge. In a lot of USC’s games, Nwosu’s ability to quickly get into the backfield disrupted a lot of opposing offenses. It’s almost unfair on how fast he can get to the quarterback. Not only does he benefit off of the speed off the edge but his athletic ability and length gives him an advantage too. It showed during the NFL combine when Nwosu did his vertical and had his arm measured. His leaping ability added by his length makes it difficult for quarterbacks to get a pass over him. It showed during the Stanford game where Nwosu deflected 3 passes in the 42-24 Trojans victory.

Nwosu can also fluidly drop into coverage and smoothly change directions almost at an instance time. Some edge rushers have difficulties dropping into coverage, but for Nwosu, his athletic ability allows for him to instantly and smoothly change directions to burst to the ball.

Weakness

For all of the positives about Uchenna Nwosu, he does have some weak points in his game. The big knock on him is his strength off the edge. Nwosu has speed and quickness to get around the tackles, but when he can’t use that then that’s when Uchenna is neutralized. Tackles can often get their hands on Nwosu and overpower him. Going against NFL offensive linemen who are stronger and a little more quicker than the college linemen, he’ll have to add more muscle if he wants to continue to play as an edge rusher. He also falls into the tendency to try and overpower linemen with that lack strength opposed to using his speed and athleticism.

Nwosu also has a tendency of being too antsy before the snap and jumping off-sides. USC had an issue with penalties last season and Nwosu contributed to it by trying to get a huge jump into the backfield. This issue will be settled once NFL coaches get ahold of him and try to control his motor.

Best Moment At USC

Pac 12 Championship - Stanford v USC Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

One of the best moments in Nwosu’s career at USC came last season in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Stanford was knocking on the door late in the 4th quarter to take the lead over USC. The Trojans stopped Stanford three straight times at the Trojans 2 yard line. On 4th down Uchenna Nwosu managed to beat the tackle off the edge and stop Stanford from not only scoring, but creating a turnover on downs which gave USC the ball back. The goal line stand changed the whole magantude of the Pac-12 Championship game.

Draft Projection

Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual - USC v Penn State Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Uchenna Nwosu is one of the more underrated prospects in this years draft class. Based off of the film and potential he could end up being a steal in the draft. Nwosu could find himself selected in the 3rd round and could climb as high as a late 2nd round. Team’s like the Chargers, Rams, Broncos, and Steelers could use an athletic edge rusher for their scheme. Nwosu could develop into an effective edge rusher in a 3-4 defense if he can add some strength. He could also earn time on the field as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense.

Late 2nd round Pick.