The Chiefs Should Commit To Developing Gregory Rousseau's Game

Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau was one of the more productive pass-rushers in all of college football in 2019. Should the Kansas City Chiefs draft him?
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Gregory Rousseau - EDGE, Miami

By the numbers:

6'7", 266 pounds. 34-3/4" arms, 4.68 40-yard dash per pro day measurements.

Opted out of the 2020 season.

2019: 54 tackles (19.5 for loss), 15.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 13 games played. First-team All-ACC selection. 

Positives:

Gregory Rousseau is a physical specimen, boasting a long frame that many pass rushers can only dream of having. With arms that measure at nearly 35 inches, his tackle radius is very wide. He sets a quality edge in run defense and eliminates gaps soon after they open up. Rousseau uses his length to keep his chest clean, even against NFL-sized tackles. 

As a pass-rush threat, Rousseau's calling card is his versatility. He's comfortable being kicked inside to a three-technique alignment and even worked over the face of the center on occasion during his time at Miami. Rousseau has room to add a bit of weight, which could make him an even more imposing presence on obvious passing downs. He's too quick and explosive for interior linemen, which isn't always the case when lined up as a defensive end. This will come in handy at the next level.

Negatives:

While some EDGE prospects in this year's class have developed pass-rush plans, Rousseau isn't one of them. He lacks an assortment of moves and is inconsistent with how he deploys the ones he does have in one-on-one situations. Maintaining proper leverage will be paramount at his height, and he won't be able to win solely on length in the NFL. Rousseau is closer to being a blank canvas than a technician when getting after the quarterback.

Building on the aforementioned points, Rousseau's 2019 production was much better than his actual tape. The fact that his sample size is still limited is a concern. An ankle injury greatly abbreviated his 2018 campaign and he opted out of last season. It would have been nice to see Rousseau refine his game with on-field reps — teams will be banking on one season of an unreliable process leading to great results. He's far from a finished product, which is both a blessing and a curse.

How Rousseau fits with the Chiefs:

The Chiefs are in a different place heading into this season after losing defensive ends Tanoh Kpassagnon and Alex Okafor. Taco Charlton is back on a one-year contract and should play a major role as a third-down specialist. Signing defensive tackle Jarran Reed opens the door for Chris Jones to move outside on early downs, although it remains to be seen whether that's the Chiefs' plan. Rousseau meets Steve Spagnuolo's benchmarks for size and his inside-out versatility is a plus. He's a great fit.

Final Thoughts:

Rousseau's frame is the foundation — both literally and figuratively — for his game. He had a quality 2019 season, although it was sandwiched between a short 2018 and a nonexistent 2020 in terms of tape. He may not be a huge impact player on day one, but his potential is legitimate. Rousseau grades out as a second-round prospect who could eventually become a top player from the 2021 EDGE class.

Read More: Arrowhead Report's 100 Players in 100 Days: A Kansas City Chiefs Draft Guide.