Miami Hurricanes DE Greg Rousseau one of NFL Draft most polarizing players

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 21: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 21: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Miami Hurricanes defensive end Greg Rousseau has become one of the most polarizing players in the 2021 NFL Draft. Early in the draft process, Rousseau was often projected to be a top 10 pick. Less than a week before the draft Rousseau is 25th in the consensus NFL Mock Draft Database Big Board.

Rousseau began his Miami career redshirting as a true freshman in 2018 following a broken ankle. In his only full season playing for the Miami Hurricanes, Rousseau had a breakout season with 54 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks. Rosseau has fallen from once being projected as the first edge rusher selected.

Pro Football Focus currently ranks Rousseau as the fifth-best edge rusher for the 2021 NFL Draft. Jaelan Phillips who outshined Rousseau at Miami Pro Day is the third-best edge rusher by PFF. Kwity Paye of Michigan is first, Jayson Oweh of Penn State second and Azeez Ojulari of Georgia is fourth among PFF edge rushers.

Rousseau received an 80.7 pass-rushing grade from PFF which they mentioned doesn’t measure up to the 15.5 sacks he recorded in 2019. Miami moved Rousseau around frequently and often played him inside on passing downs. Rousseau beating guards that couldn’t match his length is often questioned by draft analysts.

PFF noted that Rousseau often struggled to win on the outside. Some projections have Rousseau slipping into the second round. The criticism of Rousseau focuses on his lack of experience, underwhelming numbers at Miami Pro Day and the need for him to take time to develop. Rousseau has a lot of positive traits.

The length Rousseau brings to the NFL at 6’6 with long arms and wingspan, the versatility he showed in his one season playing for Miami and the athleticism is rare for a player with his size. Rousseau opting out of the 2020 season and his unimpressive performance has scouts and analysts polarized on Rousseau.

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Rousseau is the type of player that creates drama in the NFL Draft. The upside is there to become an elite edge rusher. In an NFL where players increasingly have to perform earlier in their NFL careers drafting Rousseau will likely require a team to have patience. Rousseau will likely be discussed frequently during the NFL Draft.