According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts will select Miami pass rusher Gregory Rousseau with the 21st overall pick in his 2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.0:
21. Indianapolis Colts
Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
Under general manager Chris Ballard, the Colts never go all out in free agency, focusing instead on low-cost, short-term deals. And even though they could still bring back veteran edge rusher Justin Houston, this could be a spot to take a young defender. Rousseau had 15.5 sacks in 2019 and then opted out of this past season. He has an up-and-down evaluation, but you can’t deny his production and size (6-foot-7, 250 pounds). He has a high ceiling. Indianapolis also has a hole at left tackle after Anthony Costanzo retired.
Notable free-agent additions: DT Isaac Rochell
Notable free-agent losses: QB Jacoby Brissett, DE Denico Autry, LB Anthony Walker
Rousseau is considered one of this year’s draft’s top pass rushing prospects.
“The 6’7”, 265 pound pass rusher opted out of playing for the 2020 season amid COVID-19 concerns.
However, Rosseau’s just a year removed from a stat-stuffing 15.5 sack with the Hurricanes during 2019, as he also recorded 54 tackles (34 solo), 19.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and a pass defensed during 13 games (7 starts) that season.
The redshirt freshman earned All-ACC First-Team, ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, All-America Second-Team (FWAA), and Freshman All-America for his spectacular 2019 season.”
Here’s NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah’s scouting report on Rousseau, who he ranks as the NFL draft’s 13th best prospect overall—meaning he could potentially be a great value falling back to the Colts with the 21st overall selection:
13. Gregory Rousseau
Miami · Edge rusher · Sophomore (RS)
Rousseau is a tall, long and rangy defender. He aligned all over the front in Miami’s scheme and was extremely productive in 2019 despite having limited experience on the defensive line (he played safety and wide receiver in high school). He lacks an elite get-off as a pass rusher, but his combination of quick hands, length and instincts leads to sacks and pressures in bunches. He has an effective swipe/rip move and he can close/finish. He didn’t show much power early in the ‘19 season, but he got better every week. By the end of the season, he flashed the ability to convert speed to power (see: Duke game). He is very comfortable and effective rushing inside. In the run game, he uses his length to set the edge, but he does get too high at times. His effort is excellent. Overall, Rousseau is still developing, but he has found a way to post elite production while learning on the job. His best football is ahead of him.
As well as what some others are saying on the Hurricanes’ standout product:
Big fan of Miami edge rusher Greg Rousseau. Checks every box for the position. Here’s a little example of his speed to power. My First Look scouting report will post tomorrow on https://t.co/IioVYRzLaD. https://t.co/djvsW1ZDZO— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) June 11, 2020
#Canes DL Gregory Rousseau with the speed swipe.@Greg_R5 attacks the hands of the lunging blocker & swipes them. Ends up with one of his 15.5 sacks. If you beat the hands, you beat the man! #PassRush— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) March 30, 2020
Rousseau earned All-American honors as a freshman last season for #TheU pic.twitter.com/LsizBH5xj3
Was trying to watch #Packers 7th round pick Spider Garvin... but DE Gregory Rousseau keeps stealing my attention! And they move that 6’6 long frame all around the DL on 3rd down - here lined up at 0/NT on 3rd & 8— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) April 26, 2020
Add in Quincy Roche in 2020 - wow! pic.twitter.com/z5Qwsckp6a
Carlos Dunlap is what you're hoping Gregory Rousseau can turn into and possibly exceed at the next level. Similar body type, length, and ways that they win off of the edge.— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) November 20, 2020
Rousseau spent most of his high school career as a WR and Safety prior to moving to DE. My favorite part of the interview was him going in depth about how that helped his transition to becoming an edge rusher. pic.twitter.com/UUXTIHueYf— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) June 11, 2020
Gregory Rousseau moves like JPP, but I don't see the same level of relentlessness or violence on his tape that are hallmarks of JPP. Rousseau might be more David Irving best case scenario.— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 25, 2021
Miami edge rusher Gregory Rousseau is so much fun to watch. Long, lean frame and he’s only getting bigger and stronger. Incredible use of first step to stun pass blockers. Has some Brian Burns + to his game.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) May 11, 2020
Just finished my evaluation on #Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau and mannnn was I off....— Daniel Alameda (@DanielAlameda11) February 28, 2021
I see a MAJOR project and you’re drafting solely off of the athletic traits. He might be EDGE 5 for me.... #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/5QVQLC3ht0
Greg Rousseau making plays. pic.twitter.com/uXmgGmCukl— Andrew Ivins (@Andrew_Ivins) December 8, 2017
The Colts could obviously use some edge help, as while the team signed Isaac Rochell, Indianapolis also lost starter Denico Autry in free agency—and fellow free agents Justin Houston and Al-Quadin Muhammad could soon join his recent departure.
Rousseau appears to be a bit raw and is still developing as a pass rusher—with only one year of production, but he has the physical tools to be an impact sackmaster at the next level. However, it’s not without risk, as there’s some ‘boom or bust’ potential here.
However, given the Colts’ hole at pass rusher and an overall need for an infusion of youth, quickness, athleticism, and bend off the edge, Rousseau is a prospect to watch out for.