Falcons: Could Gregory Rousseau provide immediate impact?

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Rushing the passer is one of the most difficult skills to translate from college to the pros for NFL rookies. Aside from the outliers like Chase Young, Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett, and Joey Bosa, who dominated as rookies, it’s hard for a first-year pass-rusher to provide similar influence. There really isn’t that consensus elite pass-rusher — like the aforementioned ones — in this draft class, but could a trade back scenario provide better value for a player like Gregory Rousseau?


Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season but produced 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks in 2019. As a high school wide receiver and safety, he still needs to develop as a defensive end, but the production and physical tools are all there.

Rousseau has a quick first step and a burst to close on the quarterback. While he is not a blazing fast edge rusher like Von Miller, he is quick, and when he works himself free, he finishes the rush in a hurry. His freakish length doesn’t compromise his agility to sink his hips to bend around the edge or redirect. He has the size and strength to his gap in the run game, but he still needs to get stronger — thankfully, his frame is ideal for packing on pounds.

Look at all the plays he made in many different situations


If Terry Fontenot selects him, the coaching staff must understand the need for patience with his development. He isn’t as technically refined as some other pass-rushers in this draft, but he is by far the most intriguing given his ceiling. It is vital for him to add weight to his frame to better his functional strength. His one-year wonder could prove to be a fluke, but I just think he is raw and needs development — like a lot of pass-rushers coming out of college. His ankle surgery is concerning, but until teams get him in for a physical, there’s no telling what it could mean for his draft stock.

Team Fit

The combination of size, agility, and functional strength allows Rousseau to be a versatile defender. As a Hurricane, he lined up on the edge and inside at tackle in sub-packages — very dangerous rushing over guards. In the NFL, this translates perfectly for a multiple front defense — like Dean Pees’ scheme — that allows him to move all around the line of scrimmage. He looked pretty good in space, so the 3-4 outside linebacker opposite of Dante Fowler would be a great fit.


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