Gregory Rousseau NFL Draft 2021 Buffalo Bills wanted prototype39; pass rusher Gregory
Buffalo Bills start strong in 2021 NFL Draft with Gregory Rousseau Fri, 30 Apr 2021 03:00:00 -0700-Disappointing pro day or not, GM Brandon Beane thinks Rousseau can develop into pass rusher who can affect QB.
CLEVELAND — After 20 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night at the venue tucked in between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and FirstEnergy Stadium, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane had his eyes on somebody.
As it turns out that player was Miami (Fl.) edge rusher Gregory Rousseau, who ultimately fell to the Bills at pick no. 30. He was the third edge rusher off the board after Jaelan Phillips went first to the Miami Dolphins at pick 18 and Michigan’s Kwity Paye went 21st overall to the Indianapolis Colts.
Beane was watching closely as the board played out, fielding calls from teams interested in moving up and back into the first round if the Bills were willing to deal. A few more picks went off the board after Paye and no other edge rushers were taken, so Beane decided to settle in and wait it out.
“We had conversations on both sides,” he said. “We could have traded back. We had one team that was really interested and another called late. I don’t know what their final offer was. I think we could have gone back. I don’t know if there was a perfect opportunity to go up. We were playing it close to the vest. Greg was the guy we wanted and patience worked out.”
It wasn’t just an edge rusher that Beane was locked in on in this draft. He said the Bills wanted a player that could affect the quarterback after what happened against the Kansas City Chiefs in January – not to mention the fact that division rivals Miami and the New England Patriots both drafted quarterbacks ahead of Buffalo.
Rousseau, who just turned 21 earlier this month, didn’t play in 2020 after opting out amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a personal decision as his mother, a nurse, fought on the front lines against the disease. Rousseau revealed that his mother and father actually lived in Buffalo for a few years in the late ‘90s before moving to South Florida where he was born.
Throw on the tape from 2019 and what you’ll find is a versatile, instinctive, and productive pass rusher that the Bills learned to love during the scouting process – even as he watched his teammates play from a distance last year.
“He stayed in touch with his teammates. … He was removed, but he was still hanging in there. He missed it,” Beane said. “We think Greg is a rising player that will continue to grow into his body, continue to add strength.”
Rousseau stands 6-7 and put on about 20 pounds during his time away from the game, weighing in at 266 pounds at his pro day – a performance that undoubtedly hurt his draft stock. From the Bills’ perspective, maybe the way it went that day was a blessing in disguise to allow them to have a shot at him when they did.
He ran a 4.71 40-yard dash, which shouldn’t be that surprising considering the added weight and his size overall. His 30-inch vertical is among the worst at the position, but Beane noted that his get off times were among the best.
“He’s a prototype size. You can’t coach size, length, get-off and things like that. He’s got all of that,” Beane said.”He uses his get-off and length to affect the passer, whether it’s just engulfing or he had several plays where he got the sack because he’s being blocked and reaches around and causes a fumble of the quarterback. Again, his pass rush stuff will improve. He needs to improve his counters and things like that. But again, a one-year player, he’s got a knack for getting to the quarterback.”
Rousseau finished with 15.5 sacks in 2019, finishing second in sacks for the season behind only Chase Young. The Washington Football Team drafted him second overall in the 2020 draft. There’s a bit of a projection with Rousseau, who certainly needed to develop. But he’s the type of risk Beane has been unafraid to take since taking the job back in 2017.
“He covers territory. He takes long steps, he stresses the tackle with his length. There’s a lot of ways to win as a pass rusher. Not everyone is going to run 4.36 and explode off the ball,” Beane said. “The other part of it, he’s got the intangibles. He’s got a knack. There’s a lot of instinct and feel at various defensive positions, but this is another one. There’s so many guys that get drafted that are explosive, but they can’t get the quarterback down or they can’t find the quarterback. This guy, you don’t just luck into 15.5 sacks.”
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NFL Draft 2021: Buffalo Bills wanted 'prototype' pass rusher Gregory … Fri, 30 Apr 2021 03:00:00 -0700-The first round of the 2021 NFL Draft is in the books and the Buffalo Bills addressed an important need with edge rusher Gregory Rousseau.
The first round of the 2021 NFL Draft is in the books and the Buffalo Bills addressed an important need with edge rusher Gregory Rousseau.
At first glance, you can see why the Miami Hurricanes star was a first-round calibre player given his impressive frame. In his NCAA career, he totalled 54 tackles, 19.5 for a loss, and 15.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2019. He did opt out of the 2020 season which probably hurt his draft stock but the raw talent is there.
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Talking to reporters, general manager Brandon Beane said he expects Rousseau to be a part of the team’s rotation in 2021. This should hopefully, lead to him being a starter on the defensive line for many years to come.
Looking at how the AFC has some emerging quarterback talent, getting a player that can wreak havoc in the backfield should provide Bills fans with some excitement. This was a priority for Buffalo considering how their season ended on the losing end of a dominant effort from Patrick Mahomes.
There were some who expected the Bills to take a running back in the first round but the top two in Najee Harris and Travis Etienne were gone before then. It’s not the worst thing considering many teams have been able to find great value on Day 2 of the draft.
The important thing with Rousseau is that he gets a chance to ease into playing again after sitting out an entire season. His decision had to do with COVID-19 concerns with his mother being a nurse.
It’s quite a relieving feeling that Buffalo didn’t need to reach or trade-up for a particular player but after a strong 2020 season, anything less than another run for a Super Bowl will be a significant step back.
Buffalo Bills: 2021 NFL Draft Day 2 should be exciting with some names dropping
It will be interesting to see how the talent pool shakes out on Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Azeez Ojulari, Asante Samuel Jr., and Trevon Moehrig are among some of the top prospects to keep an eye on in round two. Buffalo likely won’t see them drop that much which is why they could consider some of the offensive linemen like Teven Jenkins, Samuel Cosmi or maybe running back Javonte Williams.
The benefit for the Bills is that they don’t have to reach for a particular position which takes some pressure off Beane from going off his draft board.
What are your thoughts on Rousseau? Do you think the Bills made the right pick? What should they try to get on Day 2? Let us know in the comments below.
– April 30, 2021