Why is Miami Hurricanes DE Greg Rousseau plummeting on NFL Draft big boards?

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 26: (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 26: (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

At the end of the 2020 season former Miami Hurricanes defensive end, Greg Rousseau averaged projected spot in the NFL Draft was 12.3 despite opting out last year. In the three-plus months since Alabama won the National Championship, Rousseau has plummeted to the cusp of the first round with a draft average of 29.7.

Rousseau had a breakout season in 2019 with 54 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and finished second nationally to the 2020 second pick in the NFL Draft Chase Young with 15.5 sacks. The stock on Rousseau has fallen to the point that he is not likely to be the first Miami Hurricanes edge rusher drafted.

Jaelan Phillips outshined Rousseau on Miami Hurricanes Pro Day last month. At 6’6, 266 pounds, Rousseau has the size and length NFL teams covet. The numbers Rousseau had at Pro Day were uninspiring to NFL Scouts and front office personnel. The one freakish athleticism that Rousseau has is beginning to be questioned.

One supported that Rousseau has is former Miami DE Calais Campbell who has often been compared to. Ian Rapoport of NFL.Com stated Rousseau is one of the most challenging evaluations in the NFL Draft. Campbell replied with he wonders what scouts said about him when he came out of Miami.

"3. EDGE GREGORY ROUSSEAU, MIAMIEnd of Season ADP: 12.3Current ADP: 29.7“Rousseau was billed as a physical freak in terms of both frame and athleticism. Those physical traits are what led to his 16-sack (editors note, 15.5 sacks) redshirt freshman campaign in 2019, a season that was backed by an 80.7 PFF pass-rush grade.But after a full season off as an opt-out, Rousseau checked in at his pro day with a freakish frame and fairly middling athleticism. The Miami defensive end was up nearly 20 pounds from his playing weight to 266 pounds, and his change-of-direction drills suffered.His 7.5-second three-cone and 4.45-second shuttle fall in the 16th and 36th percentile, respectively. To top it off, he wasn’t even particularly explosive, recording a 15th-percentile vertical (30 inches) and 42nd-percentile broad jump (9-foot-7). In a class full of physical freaks on the edge, Rousseau got passed up.”"

Pro Football Focus ranked Rousseau as the third faller in the 2021 NFL Draft. Pittsburgh safety Paris Ford and Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses are the only 2021 NFL Draft prospects falling more than Rousseau according to PFF. Teams are beginning to doubt the athleticism that made Rousseau elite in 2019.

Some of the numbers Rousseau recorded on Pro Day were not what was expected of him, but his ability to get off the ball at the line of scrimmage is elite as illustrated above by Jeremiah. Rousseau is not likely to fall any further than early in the second round. Also working in Rousseau’s favor is his versatility.

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Rousseau often lined up for Miami at defensive tackle on passing downs in 2019. As a former wide receiver, Rousseau also has the ability to occasionally drop into pass coverage. Only playing one complete season of college football is also scaring off analysts. Rousseau has become one of the most polarizing 2021 NFL Draftees.