Gregory Rousseau Buffalo Bills Land Miami Hurricanes39; Defensive End Gregory
NFL Draft 2021: Buffalo Bills wanted 'prototype' pass rusher Gregory … Fri, 30 Apr 2021 03:00:00 -0700-The Buffalo Bills needed an edge rusher and they got it in the first round of the NFL Draft at No. 30 with long-limbed Miami Hurricanes defensive end Gregory …
The Buffalo Bills needed an edge rusher and they got it, resisting an offer to move down from No. 30 in the first round of Thursday’s NFL draft.
In a first round that was top heavy with offensive talent, the Bills selected long-limbed Miami Hurricanes defensive end Gregory Rousseau, who has been labeled as raw but talented.
What you notice first about him is his great length. Described as having a “Gumby-like frame,” he’s long and lean at 6-6 and 266 pounds with 11 1/8-inch hands. He’s such a good athlete that he played a variety of positions in high school, including wide receiver.
The other thing you noticed about him was his big smile. The son of Haitian immigrants who grew up in Coconut Creek, Fla., Rousseau looks like he will light up the Bills locker room and fit in with all the interesting and charismatic personalities on the Bills roster.
Rousseau, who went to Champagnat Catholic High School in Hialeah, Fla., just stands out in so many ways.
It’s easy to forget what he has accomplished in his young career (he’s only 21) because he opted out of the 2020 season due to Covid-19. He wanted to be with his mother, who is a former ICU nurse who worked with Covid patients, and his father, who is a fire truck mechanic.
Over 2020, Rousseau concentrated on putting on 20 pounds to his lean frame and watching tape. His own tape tells much.
In 2019, he led the ACC in sacks at the University of Miami with 15.5 and was named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. As General Manager Brandon Beane said: “You don’t just luck into 15.5 sacks.”
Rousseau also had 54 tackles, 19.5 for a loss, and seven quarterback hurries. His sack total ranked second in the nation to Ohio State’s Chase Young (16.5).
In other words, he’s a beast. But it’s hard to predict how Rousseau will develop because he’s still learning his trade. He needs to become more refined as a pass rusher. And it’s hard to value intangibles, but he’s got them.
In his freshman year, his season was cut short after just 17 snaps due to an ankle injury, which resulted in a redshirt season. After surgery, Rousseau began his second season as a bench player who was primarily used in third down passing situations. Soon after, he put the coaches on notice that he was truly gifted at the edge position.
The Bills pick at No. 30 wasn’t unexpected because defensive end is an area where Buffalo needed to improve.
Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison are returning, but they will be 33 and 34, respectively, by the start of the new season. And both are in contract years.
The weakness of the Bills pass rush was never more apparent than in last year’s AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills sacked quarterback Patrick Mahomes only once while he completed 76 per cent of his passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns.
“He’s a prototype size,” Beane said of Rousseau. “You can’t coach size, length, get-off, things like that. He’s got all of that.”
Beane called Rousseau an “instinctive player” who has a lot of upside and will fit in well with Buffalo.
Right now, Rousseau is not expected to jump into the starting lineup. Beane sees him as a rotational defensive end who can rush from the interior when the Bills play nickel defense. Buffalo can transition him into a starting role by 2022.
The Bills had to make a lot of projections with Rousseau because they had to rely on interviews over video conference to assess his personality and how he would fit into the locker room. The Bills didn’t even have a combine or 2020 game film to assess.
Rousseau has played in only 15 collegiate games over his two seasons at Miami, but in an interview with InsideTheU, Rousseau explained how he picked up the edge position quickly.
“I just kept getting better and better,” Rousseau said of his first season in Miami. “Scrimmages came and the first one I got like four sacks and I was like, ‘Man, this is like taking candy from a baby.’ Obviously, it wasn’t that easy, but things were just clicking for me. My hard work was paying off. I was learning the scheme.”
The Bills only had Miami’s pro day to get a close-up look at Rousseau, and the results were mixed.
At the end of the day, the Bills followed their draft plan. At No. 30, they were going to take the best player available, not a player who would fill a positional need immediately.
On his NFL draft profile, an unnamed director of scouting for an NFL team didn’t see Rousseau as a big-time NFL rusher because so much of his pressure came as a zero-technique, meaning Rousseau was lined up right over the center's nose.
“He won’t see those looks in our league,” the scout said.
Although he carries a boom/bust profile, Rousseau and 2020 second-round pick A.J. Epenesa project as the Bills’ starting defensive ends of the future.
On Day 2 of the NFL Draft, the Bills own the No. 61 and No. 93 picks and might look to cornerback to fill an impending need.
Buffalo Bills Land Miami Hurricanes' Defensive End Gregory … 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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– April 30, 2021