PFF expects hype warranted for Greg Rousseau NFL Draft status

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 23: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 23: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Former Miami Hurricanes defensive end Greg Rosseau is expected to live up to the projected hype that he will generate as a high 2021 NFL first-round draft pick according to Pro Football Focus.

Former Miami Hurricanes defensive end Greg Rousseau had a breakout season as a redshirt freshman in 2019 with 54 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks. Rousseau was named an Associated Press preseason All-American last week, but he chose to opt-out of the 2020 season shortly before Miami began training camp.

Greg Rousseau is a consensus first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft but some analysts are concerned he has only played 550 total defensive snaps in just over one season of playing college football. Pro Football Focus evaluated Rousseau’s draft prospects and interviewed him on the 2 for 1 Drafts podcast.

Part of the concern from PFF is the evaluation that the 6’6 edge rusher has limited pass-rushing moves are in their words “limited for a player with his type of production through one season.” One skill that will help Rousseau is his ability to move inside and rush as from the interior as a defensive tackle.

Rousseau achieved a pressure rate of 16.4 percent in the ACC. PFF argues in their podcast that a lot of the production Rousseau achieved in 2019 came on stunts and against bad competition. The fact is most experts want to see Rousseau improve and become more polished to reach the levels of someone like Chase Young.

Gregory Rousseau 2019 Snap Breakdown

Left EDGE422
Nose tackle68
Left interior defender19
Right EDGE11
Right interior defender5
Slot corner2
Inside linebacker1

Table courtesy of PFF.Com

Rousseau lined up the vast majority of snaps on the left edge in 2019. That meant he rushed the passer against opposing teams’ right tackle. In college that is more often than not a player who is not expected to play in the NFL. As an elite NFL pass rusher, Rousseau is going to have to beat a far greater level of competition.

Rousseau achieved the 15.5 sacks on 46 pressures, a level that according to PFF is not sustainable. Miami graduate transfer DE Quincy Roche had 13 sacks on 68 pressures in 2019 in far more snaps. Numbers will even out the more snaps a player participates in. Rousseau was equally as good against the run according to PFF.

PFF charted Rousseau as “generating 40 stops on just 234 run-defense snaps (17.1% run-stop percentage).” Rousseau is an excellent all-around defensive lineman but he is expected to be a project entering the NFL and not be an immediate impact player. Rousseau could be a situational pass rusher as a rookie on the right team.

Greg Rousseau interview starts at 44-minute mark

Greg Rousseau final analysis from Pro Football Focus

"“Assuming Rousseau tests like we expect him to, the hype is warranted…He was uber-productive in college, generating a stop or a pressure on roughly one in six of his snaps as a redshirt freshman in the ACC. While his 10 missed tackles are a concern, he was called for only one penalty, which could be a hidden value to his future NFL team.My only reservation in recommending him as a clear-cut, top-10 pick is the lack of data on him… There simply is not a ton of information on him doing things he’ll do at the NFL level, and as such, he may take longer than the average edge player to develop.With much of the value inherent in drafting an edge the difference between their salary and that of a well-paid veteran, any years lost in development are costly. Much of the production at the position is dependent on physical traits, and he looks to have them, leading to a fascinating case study during unprecedented times.”"

Rousseau has the potential to become an elite pass rusher at the NFL level. The player he is compared to most often is another former Miami edge rusher, Calais Campbell. In three seasons at Miami Campbell produced 129 tackles, 39 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks. Rousseau has put on 25 pounds since the end of 2019.

Next. Rousseau ahead of Ohio St. QB Justin Fields in NFL Mock Draft. dark

Rousseau went from 240 pounds to 265. Rousseau expects to maintain that weight for the 2021 NFL combine. Campbell is 6’8 300. In college Campbell was listed at 6’8 253 pounds according to the official Miami Hurricanes website. PFF analysts Mike Renner and Austin Gayle speculated  Rousseau has the potential to fill out to 300 pounds.