Miami’s Greg Rousseau might be better kicking inside
Leading up to the 2021 NFL draft, which begins April 29, Yahoo Sports will count down our leading 100 general potential customers. We’ll count them down in groups of 5 for Nos. 100-51, followed by more thorough reports on our leading 50 gamers, with assistance from our searching assistant, Liam Blutman. We schedule the right to make modifications to gamers’ grades and examinations based upon injury updates, pro-day exercises or late-arriving info from NFL groups.
Previous possibility rankings: Nos. 100-96 | 95-91 | 90-86 | 85-81 | 80-76 | 75-71 | 70-66 | 65-61 | 60-56 | 55-51 | 50. OT Liam Eichenberg | 49. WR Balcony Marshall Jr. | 48. POUND Chazz Surratt | 47. EDGE Joe Tryon | 46. OT-OG Alex Leatherwood | 45. CB Asante Samuel Jr. | 44. DL Levi Onwuzurike | 43. POUND Jabril Cox | 42. DT Daviyon Nixon | 41. EDGE Ronnie Perkins | 40. POUND Nick Bolton | 39. CB Ifeatu Melifonwu | 38. WR Elijah Moore | 37. OT Jalen Mayfield | 36. EDGE Carlos Basham Jr. | 35. CB Elijah Molden | 34. RB Travis Etienne | 33. WR Kadarius Toney | 32. EDGE Jayson Oweh | 31. POUND Zaven Collins | 30. DT Christian Barmore | 29. QB Mac Jones | 28. CB Caleb Farley | 27. RB Javonte Williams | 26. C-OG Landon Dickerson | 25. TCU S Trevon Moehrig | 24. CB Greg Newsome II | 23. WR Rashod Bateman
22. Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau
6-foot-7, 266 pounds
Yahoo Sports draft grade: 6.05 — possible instant starter
TL;DR searching report: Boom-or-bust possibility with sensational tools however a practical absence of tape, experience
Games viewed: Florida (2019), Virginia (2019), Georgia Tech (2019), Pitt (2019), Louisiana Tech (2019)
The skinny: A 4-star Competitors hire, Rousseau made the enormous switch from high-school receiver/safety/linebacker to protective lineman with the Hurricanes. He played in 2 video games in 2018, making 5 takes on, prior to suffering a damaged ankle and taking a medical redshirt. In 2019, Rousseau stunned the college football world with 51 takes on (4 for losses), 15.5 sacks (2nd nationally to just Chase Young), 2 required fumbles, one fumble healing and one batted pass in 13 video games (8 starts). He was called first-team All-ACC and ACC Defensive Novice of the Year. Rousseau pulled out of the 2020 college season and stated early for the 2021 NFL draft.
Upside: Leaps off the screen with his mix of size and athletic characteristics. Uncommon, extraordinary length — sensational wingspan (83 1/4 inches), excellent arm length (34 3/8 inches) and a few of the greatest hands (11 1/8 inches) you’ll ever seen on a football field.
Ran well at his professional day — a 4.67 40-yard dash with a mind-blowing 1.57-second 10-yard split (faster than LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase). Bench-press overall (21) isn’t rather as eye-popping, however it works for a gamer with 34-plus-inch arms.
1 year production was incredible. Logged 15.5 sacks on a simple 280 pass-rush snaps — a ridiculous disturbance rate. It’s even wilder that he didn’t end up being a starter till the 6th video game of the season and just balanced a shade more than 40 snaps per video game.
Athletic enough that he was asked to play practically every strategy on the protective line (consisting of a lots of snaps at nose deal with), stand as an edge rush and likewise drop off periodically into protection. Likewise diminished punts in protection thoroughly — made the opening special-teams deal with in bowl vs. Louisiana Tech.
Tremendous rush when lined up inside — and flashes occasionally great hand use. Uses a rip move and is too too fast for guards to handle. Outstanding subpackage rush potential as a big interior defender on passing downs. Has the length to be a shot blocker in time.
Uses his length to bull rush opponents and get them on their heels. Will cross blockers’ faces. Counters back inside well after running the arc — can change his rush course well. Fast finisher. Spent time with noted pass-rush guru Chuck Smith during opt-out season.
Natural run-stopping potential. Protects his middle well from blockers. Presses out shorter-armed blockers and sheds naturally. Presses out shorter-armed blockers and sheds naturally. Will flatten down the line and back backside TFLs as the unblocked man.
Comes from humble roots but with a strong, supporting family. Worker who has some pride in his craft. Plays hard most of the time. Exciting, ascending talent to mold.
Downside: One of the least-experienced prospects in this entire class — 546 college snaps. One-year producer who opted out.
Has plenty to learn about defending the run and setting harder edges. Still adjusting to the trench warfare life. Hands could use more refinement but also more pop.
Could add a lot more strength — played closer to the 250-pound range in 2019. Can get torqued by rushers when he gets too high. Pad level is a consistent issue. You’d expect more speed to power in his rushes. Slaughtered some tight ends, but a few seemed to do just fine blocking him one on one. Learning how to anchor. Legs appear a bit thin and undeveloped.
Only average testing numbers — 30-inch vertical jump, 117-inch broad jump and a 7.50-second 3-cone drill. Some offensive guards topped those numbers. So-so get-off quickness. Average bend. Can get a little off kilter — finds himself on the ground a bit.
Not really an edge rusher. Did plenty of it but appeared to have more pass-rush success working inside the deal with. Lacks ideal twitch on the corner. He’ll need to bulk up if he wants to play any more snaps at nose tackle, which he did a fair bit.
Best-suited destination: The NFL team that takes a chance on Rousseau almost must be prepared for him to serve a redshirt-type of season in 2021, given his lack of experience and refinement as a pass rusher. Rousseau’s athleticism can be put to work early, but expecting anything more than a developmental season in Year 1 could be foolhardy.
Although he might not be instant coffee, however, Rousseau reads as a rare specimen who could develop into something truly special. Some teams truly treat this as a developmental league; others, sadly, do not.
His landing spot is crucial for his cultivation. We could see him being a base 4-3 EDGE or maybe a 3-4 OLB (a la Julius Peppers in Green Bay), but his best work might end up coming within as a 3 or 5-technique DL if Rousseau can add 20 to 30 pounds of bulk without losing his quickness.
Did you know: As a high-school receiver — and a giant one at that — Rousseau chased down a protector following a turnover, running nearly 80 yards and tackling his opponent shy of the goal line despite the player having more than 10 yards’ head start toward the end zone.
Player comp: It’s virtually impossible to come up with a comp for Rousseau given his rare dimensions and lack of football.
Could he become Calais Campbell or DeForest Buckner (who played in the 260s as college freshmen)? Or is Rousseau the next Shawn Oakman or Lynden Trail?
The closest we could arrive at was David Irving, who was 273 at his pro day however played more within in the NFL in the 290-pound range. That might be Rousseau’s best path to maximizing his skill.
Expected draft variety: 2nd round
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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.