(Editor's Note: While the start of the 2018 NFL Draft isn't until April 26, it's never too early to profile some of the key participants. The staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of the draft's top prospect, with an emphasis on possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is USC's Uchenna Nwosu.)
- Name: Uchenna Nwosu
- Position: Linebacker/Defensive End
- College:Southern Cal
- Height/Weight:6-2 / 245
- Honors:First-team All-Pac-12 selection as a senior in 2017.
- Key Stat:Nwosu's production rose steadily over four years at USC, and in 2017 he produced a career-best 75 tackles and 9.5 sacks last season.
Where He's Projected:
Most draft observers are slotting Nwosu as a mid-round pick who might go as early as the third round. He had a solid showing at the NFL Scouting Combine last week, running an unofficial 4.65 40-yard dash. Teams might view Nwosu as a late bloomer packed with potential because he didn't take up football until his sophomore year of high school.
How He Helps The Cowboys:
Well, the Cowboys might very well need linebacker depth, and they can never have enough pass rushers. Nwosu projects as an outside linebacker who can get to the quarterback. He's a terrific athlete for his 245-pound frame, and with 11.5 tackles for loss and 13 pass breakups last season, he showed the ability to cover and pressure the pocket.
- Has some bend to him. Ability to capture the edge.
- Drops and adjusts in coverage.
- Some upper-body power to walk his man back.
- Ability to create turnovers.
- Can close some ground when unblocked. Will wrap up when he gets in position.
- Can rush inside and out. Can beat blocks inside. Has some initial quickness off the snap. Will use pass rush moves along the way.
- Gets in throwing lanes. Will slide inside to close on the ball carrier. Can adjust in space.
- Caught between positions. Has put his hand on the ground and rushed but also stood up in a two-point stance playing as a linebacker. Think he's better suited to play as a true linebacker.