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Todd McShay Projects Colts to Select Miami Edge Gregory Rousseau in New NFL Mock Draft

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 Central Michigan at Miami Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

According to ESPN’s Todd McShay (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts are projected to select Miami pass rusher Gregory Rousseau at #21 overall in his 2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.0:

21. Indianapolis Colts

Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami

Christian Darrisaw might be an option if still available, filling in Anthony Castonzo’s spot at left tackle, or the Colts might take a long look at Trevon Moehrig (TCU) at safety. But it’s hard to ignore the need for pass-rush depth, especially as Indy deals with free-agency concerns on the edge. Rousseau hasn’t played since 2019, but he had 15.5 sacks in that season and can overwhelm blockers with his power. He’d help keep an elite defense at the top of its game.

Mike Wells on his fit with the Colts: Pass-rusher is the Colts’ most important area to address this offseason, especially with veteran Justin Houston being a free agent and the team looking to get younger there. Sliding in alongside DeForest Buckner, Rousseau would have an opportunity to be a day one starter if Indy doesn’t re-sign Houston, especially if Kemoko Turay’s struggles continue.

Regarding Rousseau:

“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 sacks 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 currently has ranked as this year’s NFL Draft’s 13th best overall prospect:

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.

Here’s what else they’re saying on Rousseau:

The Colts could obviously use both immediate and long-term help at starting defensive end as both of last year’s veteran starters Justin Houston (32) and Denico Autry (30) are free agents—and neither is a lock to be re-signed by Indianapolis.

Meanwhile, rotational defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad will join them in free agency.

Regardless if either Houston or Autry ultimately return to Indianapolis, the Colts could use an infusion of youth, speed, athleticism, and bend off the edge anyways.

Specifically, 2018 2nd round pick Kemoko Turay, despite initial flashes in his career, hasn’t shown that he’s fully recovered from a season-ending ankle injury he suffered in 2019, while 2019 second round pick Ben Banogu was a healthy scratch down the stretch in 2020.

During the 2021 season, Turay will have to show that he’s fully healthy, while Banogu will have to take a major step forward in his overall development and production.

For what it’s worth:

“The Colts ranked 12th (tied) in most sacks with 40.0 sacks this past season. Per ESPN analytics, Indianapolis had the 15th highest pass rush win rate at 42%.”

The Colts were around a league average pass rushing unit, but the defense struggled generating consistent pass pressure late in the season—as their pass rush stalled.

Rousseau is a long, athletic pass rusher, with obvious physical tools, who was highly productive in limited action for the Miami Hurricanes.

He could be a nice value at #21 and is a top pass rushing prospect to monitor for the defensive end needy Colts ahead of the NFL Draft.