Miami’s Gregory Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season, but he’s still projected as an early-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, possibly even Round 1. In 2019, he had 15.5 sacks, and while that is incredibly impressive, Rousseau did feast on some suspect opponents. Nevertheless, 15.5 sacks is 15.5 sacks. Rousseau’s draft projection widely varies, so where are some legit spots he could go, and which make the best landing spots for the Miami edge rusher?
Gregory Rousseau’s draft projection
Rousseau’s length stands out right from the start, and he uses those very long arms well. He also uses his gigantic hands well and does a very nice job of keeping blockers off his frame against the run or pass from an outside rushing alignment or when lined up over a guard on passing downs.
Rousseau’s alignment versatility is interesting and certainly could come into play at the next level. Much of his sack production came when aligned on the interior. In fact, maybe Rousseau would be best served to add weight to his big frame, but he doesn’t play overly physical right now. But Rousseau isn’t a real explosive player and that was reflected in his ho-hum pro day performance.
He is more of a build-up guy and isn’t really abrupt when changing directions. He can also play too high at times with a somewhat stiff lower body. But speaking of Rousseau’s performance at the Miami Pro Day, his 10-yard split was excellent, and you can see him eat up a lot of ground right off the snap with his big strides.
Potential landing spots for Rousseau
Views on Rousseau are sure to vary from team to team. After all, there are a handful of edge defenders he is competing against on draft day. When you read the write-up above, there are an awful lot of “buts.” You could see why a team would be infatuated with Rousseau and take him in the middle of the first round, but he very well could fall well into Day 2, which seems much more likely.
The Titans have the 22nd pick in Round 1 and could have an interest in Rousseau. He is a much different type of player than Bud Dupree and Harold Landry and could provide the Titans with an inside rusher next to Jeffery Simmons on passing downs. That being said, Rousseau coming off the board at No. 22 overall seems a little ambitious.
The Jaguars are obviously taking Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick. After that, they have three more choices between picks 25 and 45 overall. Jacksonville’s roster still could use pretty much everything, and they aren’t in a position to avoid a player that can impact the game, no matter what position he plays. Rousseau landing in Jacksonville with the first pick of Round 2 is a distinct possibility.
The Bills could go in several directions near the end of Round 1. One of those directions for Buffalo could be to add more defensive line talent. Rousseau is a different kind of defensive lineman than the ones Buffalo currently has. He would make an interesting interior pairing with Ed Oliver on throwing downs while also rotating in at end as he works on his craft.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What do you give a team that doesn’t need anything? More defensive line talent! You don’t have to squint really hard to see the similarities between Rousseau and Jason Pierre-Paul. Rousseau could spell Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett from the get-go and provide the champs with an interior presence in throwing situations. This makes a lot of sense and would be a great spot for Rousseau to close out the first round.
The Falcons could take their quarterback of the future or an elite pass catcher with the fourth overall selection. Or they could trade out of that spot and really reinforce their defense with youth.
If they trade out, Rousseau could land in Atlanta with any of their new picks. If Atlanta takes a big-time offensive player at No. 4 overall, they should then counter that in Round 2 with the best defensive player available. That could very well be Rousseau with the 35th overall selection.
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