2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Gregory Rousseau

  • Gregory Rousseau, 6-7/265

  • Defensive End

  • Miami

  • Gregory Rousseau Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Excellent length
  • Keeps blockers away from him with long arms
  • Has some instincts
  • Read-and-react skills
  • Good vision
  • Adjusts well to moving quarterbacks
  • Functional strength
  • Ability to use hands and feet at same time
  • Active hands
  • Able to shed blocks
  • Has the makings of pass-rushing moves
  • Can bull rush
  • Effective rip move
  • Can rush from the inside
  • Agile; not stiff
  • Solid run defender
  • Upside to get better
  • Versatile for 3-4 or 4-3 defense

  • Weaknesses:
  • Serious bust potential
  • Not explosive
  • Lacks speed around the corner
  • Not physical
  • No speed to power
  • Needs to become a power player
  • One-year wonder
  • Raw; needs development
  • Already had a serious ankle injury
  • Lost experience and developmental time sitting out 2020
  • Should add to and refine pass-rushing moves
  • Gets in trouble when he stands up too high

  • Summary: Rousseau enter the NFL as a 1-year wonder after a brief flash of ability in his collegiate career. In 2018 as a true freshman, Rousseau played in two games before going down with a season-ending ankle injury. Despite being a redshirt freshman, Rousseau was one of the most productive edge defenders in college football in 2019. He collected 15.5 sacks with two forced fumbles, 19.5 tackles for a loss and 54 tackles on the year. Rousseau was second in the nation to Ohio State’s Chase Young in sacks that season. Because of COVID-19, Rousseau decided to sit out the 2020 season before entering the 2021 NFL Draft.

    Rousseau was a very good pass rusher in college, but for the NFL, he lacks explosion and is not a speed rusher. He is a bit of a one-trick pony for the next level because he relies on his length to make up for not being a fast defensive end. Rousseau is not going to blow by pro tackles because he lacks the burst to run by them. What made Rousseau effective in 2019 was his length. He kept blockers away with his long arms and made the most of sack opportunities. NFL offensive tackles, however, are longer, so he won’t be able to rely on just being a long defender.

    In 2019, Rousseau showed an ability to use his hands and feet at the same time while also keeping his eyes on the quarterback. He demonstrated an effective bull rush and a rip move, and length to get off blocks, but he will need to grpw stronger for those moves to be effective against pro tackles. Some team sources think Rousseau will have to become a power player to be a good pro, and he might need one or two years of development in a strength and conditioning program before that happens. Rousseau will also have to show serious dedication and work ethic to make that happen. While Rousseau flashed somewhat, down in and down out he is not a physical player, and team sources are disappointed in his lack of consistent physicality.

    Rousseau has some instincts as an edge rusher and an ability to read-and-react. Using good vision and feel, Rousseau adjusts to the quarterback to chase them down as they moves in the pocket. Rousseau was very impressive in 2019 with how he kept his eyes on the quarterback while working through blocks and executing moves to shed blocks despite being a young player. Even though he is a tall defender, Rousseau is not stiff and has the agility to sink his hips to redirect.

    Rousseau’s combination of size and length give him versatility as a defender. Miami lined him up on the edge and inside at tackle in the sub package. He was very dangerous in the pass rush against guards, and for the NFL, he could provide that added dimension. He also looked pretty good in space, so he could have the ability to be a 3-4 outside linebacker as well.

    Rousseau is solid in run defense, and he is at his best when he works upfield to cause disruption in the backfield. Rousseau has the potential to develop into a pro defender who can hold his gap to stop the run. For the NFL, it would help him to get stronger, and more power would improve his ability to defend downhill runs coming straight at him. Rousseau is young, so he has the time and frame to add strength. As stated above, he needs to get stronger and become a power player to make up for his lack of speed.

    Rousseau looks likely to be a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. A survey of team sources, however, came back with Rousseau more than any other player as the most overhyped and overrated player in this year’s draft. A number of team sources think Rousseau is going to be a bust. Some teams have him graded in the second and third rounds, but Rousseau looks likely to be selected in Round 1.

    Player Comparison: Vernon Gholston. In some ways, Rousseau reminds me of Gholston, who was a mega bust for the Jets after being sixth-overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Gholston put up a big season of sack production at Ohio State but lacked speed for the NFL. I think Rousseau could be overrated and possesses bust potential similar to Gholston.


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