New England Patriots edge rusher Matthew Judon is tied for the league lead with 14.5 sacks and is one of the most disruptive players in the NFL. But Judon doesn't believe he's even the best pass rusher on his own team.
"I told y’all I wasn’t the best pass rusher, and our best pass rusher is emerging," Judon said of Uche. "People are going to have to block him. And if they don't, and they chip my side, and they worry about me, Uche will do that every week. I just love the way he's playing with confidence and poise. And this is the most he's played since he's been in the NFL. So it's taken a toll on him, but he's gone out there, and he's had a lot of success. We all knew it, we all knew the type of player he was, he was drafted pretty high here, and now he's emerging, and folks are going to have to watch."
A former second-round pick out of Michigan, Uche has surged in recent weeks. The 24-year-old has generated 10 sacks on the season, all coming in the past six games. In the past five contests, he has three games of 2-plus sacks, including three Monday and three in Week 9's win over Indianapolis.
"That boy is a baller," linebacker Raekwon McMillan said. "55 is going to show up and play ball every week so he's a baller."
Uche began the season as a situational pass rusher but has recently seen his workload increase. On Monday, he played a season-high 48 snaps (64 percent) a week after playing 32 against Buffalo (second-most). The next phase in Uche's development will be working his way into a full-time role opposite Judon on a Patriots defense that has a shot at lifting New England to a postseason bid.