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.
“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:
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
Miami edge rusher Greg Rousseau is LEGIT!— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) June 11, 2020
also, apparently my brain is working in comps in 2021, i know this is new for me.— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 25, 2021
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
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
All-Inexperienced Team 2021:— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 26, 2021
EDGE Gregory Rousseau: 546 snaps
RB Kenneth Gainwell: 690 snaps
DT Tyler Shelvin: 712 snaps
OT James Hudson: 719 snaps
DT Christian Barmore: 747 snaps
CB Kelvin Joseph: 757 snaps
QB Davis Mills: 820 snaps
(Total career snaps on offense/defense...) https://t.co/7Ih4ttCzzv
Gregory Rousseau (6-foot-7, 265) is a toolsy prospect with absurd movement skills/length, but his technique needs to get a lot better to win as a pure pass-rusher on the edge consistently — bummed that he won't play in 2020. pic.twitter.com/b0Pb3GHoI4— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) August 6, 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
I don’t care about the mock draft...I just want everyone to see this highlight tape! Gregory Rousseau is gonna be a problem! Straight up beast! I hope and think he will be better than me https://t.co/yLML9uGwTx— Calais Campbell (@CalaisCampbell) January 8, 2021
#Patriots draft target: Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau. Tough one. Not overly explosive or refined. But huge production in 2019 (15.5 sacks, 19.5 TFLs). Long-limbed, fluid, versatile, room to grow.— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) February 10, 2021
Nice cross-chop in the first clip. But Rousseau was at his best pass rushing inside. pic.twitter.com/oLEeXuhcJE
2021 NFL Draft edge defender rankings— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 22, 2021
1. Kwity Paye, Michigan
2. Jayson Oweh, Penn State
3. Gregory Rousseau, Miami
4. Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
5. Jaelan Phillips, Miami
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.
“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.