With the 2021 NFL Draft now 15 days away, the Dallas Cowboys are being advised to remove a trio of high-end prospects from their Big Board.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay singled out Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau, Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley, and Alabama offensive lineman Landon Dickerson as three players the team must “avoid” in the Draft.
The case against Rousseau is particularly damning considering his limited sample size with the Hurricanes and worrisome critique from NFL scouts that could (should?) give Dallas pause at No. 10 overall.
“I don’t really see a big-time NFL rusher. So much of his pressure came as a zero-technique and he won’t see those looks in our league. He has very average juice and speed-to-power,” an NFL scouting director told NFL.com.”
“Rousseau very well could put it all together and be a successful player. But that’s a gamble the Cowboys aren’t in a position to take,” Kay added. “They need someone who can play opposite DeMarcus Lawrence sooner rather than later. Rousseau has a lot of learning to do and won’t be ready for an immediate run in the league.”
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Limited is right. Rousseau played in just one game as a rookie before taking the conference by storm in 2019, named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year and first-team All-ACC after notching 19.5 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks and two forced fumbles across 13 games.
“Rousseau has a collection of tempting physical traits,” Kay noted. “He’s 6’7″ 266 pounds giving him plenty of length to attack the outside shoulder of tackles and disengage blockers. But he opted out of the 2020 season and only played one year at Miami.”
Rousseau is the classic boom-or-bust pass-rusher, the chocolate amongst a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get. A former high school wide receiver, unbelievably enough, the 21-year-old has future All-Pro potential if coached correctly and given requisite time to develop, mentally and physically. High-risk, high-reward.
“Rousseau is a natural pass rusher who creates a lot of havoc off the edge and up the field,” Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline wrote in his scouting profile. “He was relentless in pursuit of opposing quarterbacks and impossible to stop at times. He will struggle holding the point at the next level and must fill out his tall, thin frame as well as improve the details of his position, but Rousseau comes with tremendous upside and should make an impact as a rookie rushing the passer.”
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As a fringe top-10 prospect, Rousseau certainly is not the consensus choice for the Cowboys, who more often have been connected to cornerbacks Patrick Surtain and JayCee Horn as well as offensive linemen Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater.
But, in at least one instance, The Sporting News mocked Rousseau to Dallas where he would (on paper) form a lethal pass-rushing trio with DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory.
The Cowboys need to help DeMarcus Lawrence better up front especially with the likelihood of losing both Tyrone Crawford and Aldon Smith. Rousseau, who opted out of the Hurricanes season, didn’t really need to play to boost his stock after posting 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss in his lone significant and final season under defensive-minded head coach Manny Diaz. He would be a great fit with new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.’
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL