Last year we saw the Saints’ 2017 3rd round pick Trey Hendrickson come out of no where to finish second in the league in sacks with 13.5. Hendrickson was tied with Aaron Donald and second to only T.J. Watt of the Steelers while out sacking guys like Myles Garrett, Khalil Mack, and even teammate Cameron Jordan. So who could be this years’ Trey Hendrickson. Who could go from a rotational piece to a house hold name. Well if you ask me, it’s the L.A. Chargers very own Uchenna Nwosu.
In years prior, Uchenna was playing as a rotational defensive end in a 4-3 defensive scheme. While sitting behind Joey Bosa and the recently departed Melvin Ingram, Nwosu still made his presence felt and even more importantly he has developed since being drafted in 2018. Now that Brandon Staley is in as the new head coach, he is implementing his lethal 3-4 scheme that brought last years L.A. Rams to #1 amongst all defenses in the NFL. Nwosu is no longer out of position now that he can play as a rush linebacker.
If anything has been clear over the last three years, it’s that Uchenna can rush the passer. He has a polished pass rush skillset and is at the top half of the league in terms of explosion off the line. Brandon Staley’s scheme is set up so that sacks come easy to edge rushers. It doesn’t take an All-Pro to produce in Brandon’s scheme. He made Leonard Floyd look like Von Miller last year for crying out loud. With another dominant force in Joey Bosa on the defense, Uchenna won’t be getting the majority of the double teams and will get every opportunity to win his one on ones. This will be a reinvented Chargers defense in 2021 and soon, everyone will know the name Uchenna Nwosu.
Projected stat line:
60 Total Tackles/12.5 Sacks/14 TFL/2 FF