2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Gregory Rousseauby Christopher Gallagher April 17, 2021 1 comment
Once thought of by many as one of the first pass rushers expected to be off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft, Gregory Rousseau has begun to see his stock slip. First arriving on the scene at the University of Miami in 2018, the 21-year-old enjoyed a stellar 2019 season. He recorded 15.5 sacks, and 54 tackles, with 19.5 of them being for a loss. Earning ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year and all-conference honors as a result of his outstanding campaign, Rousseau ultimately decided to opt out of the 2020 season due to Covid-19 concerns. However, with tremendous height and length at 6’7″, he possesses both the athleticism and explosiveness to be an impact player at the NFL level.
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Name: Gregory Rousseau
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Weight: 265 lbs
Utilizing a quick first step off the line of scrimmage, Rousseau is an explosive athlete with both the quickness and closing speed to chase and haul down opposing ball carriers. Able to utilize attack angles to beat opposing tackles, he can also use his speed and burst to get around the corner and take down opposing signal-callers. Constantly keeping his feet in motion, he can change directions with ease while also getting up the field in a hurry.
A concern of many when projecting his pure pass-rushing ability at the pro level, Rousseau was often able to win based on his athletic ability in college. Rigid with his body control at times, he struggles to bend around the corner and win with leverage, leaving room for improvement. Underdeveloped with his technique and plan as a pass rusher off the edge, he will need refinement from any team that selects him.
A monster, Rousseau checks in at 6’7″ while weighing 265 pounds. A rare find out of college, he boats a wingspan of 83 1/4 inches, with an arm length of 34 3/8 inches. Moving up and down the defensive line during his time at Miami, he is able to win with power on the inside. As a result of this, look for him to continue to add weight to his frame, making him an intriguing option for a defense that runs multiple fronts.
Run Defense (7.5/10)
Effective when defending the run at times during his time with the Hurricanes, Rousseau remains his best when he is able to get upfield and help collapse the pocket. While his pad level can remain high at points when helping to set the edge, he is still able to use his strength and power to maintain gap integrity and stop the run. Needing to continue to fill out his frame to become an effective three-down player in the NFL, look for him to be much improved as a run defender once he continues to add strength to his game.
Football IQ (7/10)
Needing to improve in his ability to process and diagnose opposing fronts and schemes, a large part of this is due to the large chunk of time Rousseau has missed throughout his college career. Playing just 546 snaps after missing time with an ankle injury and a Covid-19 opt-out, he remains raw when heading to the next level. Best suited in a situation with a strong edge defender position group; he needs to sit, learn, and develop to be a productive NFL player.
Lateral Mobility (8.5/10)
Clocking a 4.67 40 yard dash at his pro day, Rousseau also finished with a time of 7.5 seconds in the three-cone drill. Able to cross the face of opposing offensive linemen and win inside with his rip move, he can also change his course when pass rushing. This helps him to finish fast and haul down opposing quarterbacks.
A sound tackler, Rousseau can meet opposing blockers at the point of attack while benefitting from his tremendous length. Often ran away from in college due to his wingspan and size off the edge, he can utilize attack angles to beat opposing offensive lineman and wrap up ball carriers.
Making use of his long arms and strength off the edge when pass-rushing, Rousseau is able to wreak havoc on opposing tackles. While he can often play high sometimes as a defender, he remains able to drop his hips and bull rush through his opponent.
Lining up all over the defensive front for Manny Diaz, Rousseau is able to win on the outside with speed and quickness around the corner. Furthermore, he is also able to beat opposing guards on the inside with a combination of power and strength. Remaining athletic enough to drop into coverage, he also took snaps on special teams for the Hurricanes as a gunner on punts.
Rousseau possesses a high motor when rushing the passer, giving a tremendous effort play in and play out. Furthermore, he also is able to make plays from the backside in pursuit, causing him to make up ground in a hurry.
Hampered by injuries over the last few years, Rousseau saw his 2018 season cut short by a season-ending ankle injury. Along with this, he has also been hindered by a back issue.
One of the most polarizing prospects heading into the draft, Rousseau has shown glimpses of becoming an every-down edge defender at the NFL level. Appearing in just 14 games during his time with the Canes, he offers a rare combination of size, speed, length, and burst off the edge. Furthermore, with outstanding intangibles as a result of his 6’7″ frame, look for him to continue to add playing weight early on in his pro career. A versatile defender, he lined up as a traditional defensive tackle in college, along with a three-technique defensive tackle.
Needing time to sit and develop early on in his career, look for him to land on an ideal spot with a team featuring a stable pass-rushing room. Initially thought of as a day one selection and one of the first pass rushers off the board, a day two selection remains the most likely.
Final Grade (80/100): Early Second Round
Player Comp: Calais Campbell