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Should Lions Target Gregory Rousseau with No. 7 Pick?

Read more on whether the Detroit Lions should target Gregory Rousseau with the No. 7 overall pick.

Interesting. 

That is the one word I would use to describe Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Gregory Rousseau. I refer to him as a defensive lineman and not as an end or a tackle because he got moved around a lot on Miami's defensive line. 

He was a player that opted out from playing in 2020. But, in 2019, as a redshirt freshman, Rousseau burst onto the scene. 

It is widely known that Rousseau had one of the best seasons that any defensive end has had in Miami school history. He was named to the All-ACC first team, and was named the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year while leading the conference with 15.5 sacks and a staggering 19.5 tackles for loss. 

That sack total is tied for second all-time in school history. He also put up 54 total tackles that season, and added two forced fumbles.  

To put it plainly, Rousseau was a menace.  

He has drawn comparisons to Minnesota's Danielle Hunter, but I say no way are they the same player. 

Hunter is the most dominant end in the game I have seen. 

One must be careful of draft-time hype. Every year, players are said to be the next Joe Montana or the next Bruce Smith. But, many unfortunately never live up to the billing. 

Rousseau is good, but I'm not sold that he's great. 

It scares me that he declared as a redshirt sophomore. He had one great season, and then collected dust for a year, leading up to this year's draft. That is all we have to go on. 

Whenever I think of sophomores in the draft, I am always reminded of this next great thing --  a quarterback named Tommy Maddox, who never panned out years ago after coming out early. 

I know that they play different positions, but he is a very young 20 years old because of his lack of game experience at the college level. 

Now, he is going to go from playing against young men, to playing against much more skilled men that are fully grown. There is something to be said for physical and mental development. 

Do I like him? Yes. Do I think he is a first-rounder? No. 

He's a player that I'd feel comfortable taking in the third or fourth round. 

Rousseau has the wingspan of a small airplane. But, I don't feel a high-octane level of energy being exuded from him when I watch him play, which leaves me wanting more. 

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I will admit that Rousseau is a tougher evaluation, because he looks the part. But, I have to account for the things that bother me about him, too.

USATSI_13392690_168388382_lowres

DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami Hurricanes - 6-foot-6, 260 pounds 

Grade: B- (Good player, but not elite; he's good enough to win with, however) 

Kelly's draft board: Bottom third-fourth-round value 

Scouting Report

Tall, lanky methodical and athletic redshirt sophomore with pass-rush instincts but very average energy level. Not explosive. Opted out, and has one solid season of playing experience. Really reminds me of Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks in terms of movements, demeanor and vibe. Greg Ellis also went through my mind. Average-looking first step, and lacks the initial pop and jolt at the point of contact. But, uses his decent athleticism and strong, long arms to create separation from blocks and his hands to win. Not overpowering. Much more of a gap-shooter. He has his sights set on getting to the quarterback. Has tons of personality and some play-making ability to him. But, I do not call him dynamic. 

I believe he is someone who will excel at the drills and someone will fall in love with his personality. But, I am not sold on the level of competition his highlights in 2019 came against, and I am not sold he is going to be able to do it against much older and athletic offensive linemen at the next level. I think he declared way too early, and I think that may have had more to do with getting paid than truly being ready.  

There is a lot to like about Rousseau. But, I was taught to not judge a book by its cover. 

My gut tells me he has a much better chance at being a bust than at making it. I would not send in the card in the first round on this one.

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