Rousseau checks all the boxes for the physical traits team look for in an edge rusher
Gregory Rousseau doesn't have a lengthy collegiate resume but the defensive end from Miami is still expected to go early in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Statistics aside, Rousseau is a physical specimen who was a force of nature in his one full season for the Hurricanes. He may still be raw, but he oozes upside and he'll definitely be among the first 32 picks in this draft.
(This profile is one of 230 featured in the Athlon Sports 2021 NFL Draft Guide. With in-depth scouting reports on the top prospects, position rankings, and more, no source will have you better prepared for draft day. Click here to get your copy.)
Gregory Rousseau Draft Profile
College: Miami (Fla.)
With length, speed and power, Rousseau checks all the boxes as far as physical traits for an NFL edge rusher. More than that, he has a great feel for putting those tools to work. He’s a twitchy athlete with good initial quickness at the snap — he bullies tight ends in the run game and has the ability to generate push as a run defender. But he has tremendous feel for extending his arms and using his length to ward off pass protectors as he bends the edge. He has quick hands and disengages with ease, while also flashing a swim-and-rip move that can be unstoppable. He converts speed to power and can collapse the pocket with his bull rush when his pad level is right. When he’s won, his length and closing burst allow him to pile up sacks. He shows some multi-directional athleticism when asked to drop into coverage, and he’ll appeal to teams as a rush linebacker.
His length and crafty handwork will take him a long way, and he flashes impressive power, but there are times when Rousseau plays too high and sacrifices that power. Continuing to pack weight onto his frame will alleviate some of that concern, but he needs to play with better leverage on a more consistent basis.
The top edge prospect in this draft, Rousseau might not quite have the otherworldly profile of a Chase Young, but all the traits are there for him to become a consistent double-digit sack candidate with All-Pro honors in his future. His scheme versatility — he can play end in an even front, and he fits at linebacker in an odd front — guarantees that he’ll go in the first round.
Final Grade: 1st round