The New York Giants have been known to throw a wrench or two in draft predictions — selecting Daniel Jones and Andrew Thomas are prime examples of this. With that said, as we look at things two weeks until draft day, many expect the G-Men to pull the trigger on either a wide receiver or a pass rusher in the first round.
In terms of wideout, the signings of Kenny Golladay and (to a lesser degree) John Ross may give the Giants reason to believe they can wait to address the position in the later rounds. Yet, as it pertains to a pass rusher, the team is lacking a legitimate game wrecker off the edge as no outside linebacker on the current roster amassed north of 3.5 sacks in 2020.
The good news? With an expected run on quarterbacks and a loaded receiver class, the Giants may very well have their pick of the litter at No. 11 when it comes to pass rushers. While no edge in the draft is widely perceived as a blue-chip prospect, Miami’s Gregory Rousseau certainly offers a world of blue-chip traits — traits eerily reminiscent of the last Giants edge defender to exceed 10 sacks in a single season.
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Gregory Rousseau Will be ‘Intriguing’ for Giants, Says Expert
Jason Pierre-Paul’s 12.5 sacks back in 2014 are the most sacks by a Giants defender in a single season since — well, since Pierre-Paul’s brilliant 16.5 sack campaign of 2011. In fact, Markus Golden (10.0 in 2019) is the only Giants edge to record double-digit sacks since Pierre-Paul left for Tampa Bay.
Yet, before Pierre-Paul’s ascension into NFL mainstay and three-time Pro Bowler, the USF product was simply a height/weight/speed specimen with just 6.0 career sacks against FBS competition. The Giants took a gamble on Pierre-Paul’s upside and it paid huge dividends. Now, NFL Network draft expert Bucky Brooks believes Big Blue could take a similar gamble with Rousseau.
“Gregory Rousseau to me looks a lot like Jason Pierre-Paul when he was coming out,” Brooks said, via the team’s official website. “Given that Dave Gettleman and those guys have always drafted based on traits like size and physicality, those things, I would think he would be intriguing.”
Like Pierre-Paul, the 21-year-old Rousseau really has just one season of high-level college football under his belt, as he chose to opt out of the 2020 season. However, it was one hell of a season.
Checking in at 6-foot-7-inches and 266 pounds, the former high school wide receiver and safety flaunted elite explosiveness off the edge in 2019, collecting 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss in what was only his redshirt freshman season. His sack total that season ranked second in the country, trailing only future No. 2 overall pick Chase Young.
Is Rousseau Slipping?
Brooks seems to think so. The former NFL cornerback turned analyst joined NFL Network’s Path to the Draft this past Wednesday to explain why:
“Gregory Rousseau from Miami also suffering a bit of a slide,” Brooks said, via 247sports. “Because on tape, I thought I was going to see a little bit more of a dynamic player at his workout. And then when you have the situation where he didn’t play this year, you expect him to really test out the gym. And he really didn’t blow you away at your pro-day workout. So now I worry about some of the stiffness that I saw at the workout, plus the tape, so I just don’t know what to do with him when it comes to putting that final (draft) grade.”
While not gaudy numbers, Rousseau’s 4.68 forty at his size is certainly nothing to scoff at. Furthermore, he posted a 30-inch vertical jump, 21 reps on the bench press and a 9-foot-7-inch broad jump at Miami’s pro day.
Rousseau Models His Game After Myles Garrett
While Brooks may see the second-coming of Pierre-Paul in Rousseau, the former Hurricane pointed to a different Pro Bowl defender from which he draws inspiration.
“I like to watch Myles Garrett a lot because he plays up and down the line of scrimmage, 5-tech, 9-tech, sometimes even 3-tech,” Rousseau said on Wednesday’s airing of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. “I do the same thing with my game, so Myles Garrett for sure.”
Whether his on-field play better emulates Pierre-Paul or Garrett, we’re sure the Giants wouldn’t mind either way were they to pull the trigger on Rousseau come draft day.