Gregory Rousseau | Miami 6’7” 266 lbs. 4/5/2000 (Age 21)
Gregory Rousseau was drafted 30th overall by the Buffalo Bills, becoming the 11th defensive player drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Gregory Rousseau is a part of the enormous list of players that hurt their draft stock by opting out. Ja’Marr Chase and Micah Parsons were the only two players whose opt-outs didn’t affect their draft capital. Unfortunately, our man Gregory Rousseau made a bad decision. Your author wrote about this back in September in the weekly seasonal “Draft Stock Watch” series. There is no arguing Rousseau’s superior athletic ability and speed around the edge. The DE out of Miami trailed only 2020 number two overall pick Chase Young in total sacks in the entire FBS in 2019.
Rousseau is a premier pass rusher, but he would have benefitted by putting an improved ability to defend the run on film. Additionally, he has a limited set of counter moves to his pass-rush game and normally relies on speed, get-off, and athletic ability alone. Rousseau could have addressed some of these concerns this season and cemented himself as a top-fifteen NFL pick in 2021. He is still a valuable asset for those owners who play IDP, as his sheer athletic ability gives him DE1 upside.
Sunshine State ✈️ Buffalo
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 30, 2021
Gregory Rousseau checked in at 6’7” and 266 lbs. with 11” hands and 34¾” arms at the Miami Pro Day. Rousseau ran stellar times of 4.69 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 4.45 seconds in the short shuttle, and 7.5 seconds in the three-cone. Each of these results trailed former teammate and #18 overall pick Jaelan Phillips’ numbers, but they were still great. Rousseau also trailed his former teammate in the vertical and broad jumps, recording just 30” and 9’7” respectively. However, he did match Phillips’ bench press total putting up 225 lbs. 21 times.
Rapid Reaction to Draft Capital: Great
Rapid Reaction to Landing Spot: Great
Gregory Rousseau was selected with the 30th pick by the Buffalo Bills. Under coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, the Buffalo unit has provided resistance to opposing offenses last season, but sorely needed an injection of life to its pass rush. Adding Rousseau (as well as Carlos “Boogie” Basham in the second round) to their rotation of Jerry Hughes, A.J. Epenesa, Mario Addison, and newly-signed Efe Obada give them a formidable rush. Rousseau will immediately have opportunities to make big plays and rush the passer but will have seasoned veterans who can mentor and help him develop his craft.
The primary concern with Gregory Rousseau has always stemmed from the run game. He certainly has the frame to add desired bulk and strength. His size, explosion, and speed are already above-average coming into the NFL. He used his immense size, speed, and athleticism to beat blockers and get to the ball. Throughout his one full season, Rousseau dominated most of the snaps he played. Rousseau possesses an upside that is matched by only Jaelan Phillips in this year’s crop of IDPs. He was your author’s rookie EDGE2 both pre-draft and post-draft.
However, Rousseau often plays with a high center of gravity and uses his hands early in his pass rush. If not corrected, these habits will hinder Rousseau against NFL competition. NFL linemen typically fire out low and create leverage advantages at the snap. If corrected, Rousseau’s ceiling as a full-time DE and pass-rusher is immense.
Rousseau’s landing spot on the Bills is a strong one because it offers immediate opportunities to rush the passer, as his offense will always be putting up points. He should be valued in the top tier of IDP players in rookie drafts. Pending league scoring settings, he should be one of the first five IDPs taken or the second DL taken in IDP rookie drafts. Consequently, Phillips should be drafted in the late second to early third round.
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