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2021 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills take Miami pass rusher Greg Rousseau

The Buffalo Bills have selected Greg Rousseau, pass rusher from Miami University, with the 30th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

With Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison both aging and set to become free agents a year from now plus a lackluster pass rush in 2020, the Bills prioritized their edge just as we expected they would. Rousseau and 2020 second-round pick A.J. Epenesa represent the future at defensive end for the Buffalo Bills. Both will be major factors in the rotation in 2021 with the hopes of developing into dominant forces in 2022 and beyond.

In his press conference immediately following the first round, Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Rousseau was their target. They liked his length, explosiveness, and character. He opted out of the 2020 college football season because his mother is a frontline health care worker.

Beane and the rest of the front office have been dropping hints this offseason that the team needed to be able to stop the Kansas City Chiefs’ passing offense. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did that with a physical pass rush in the Super Bowl. Buffalo now looks to disrupt the QB with the addition of the rookie.

Strengths

  • Ideal length and bulk for an NFL defensive end
  • Has enough burst and length to quickly gain ground on the pocket
  • Flexible enough to bend the edge and close onto the pocket on an outside rush
  • Productive defensive weapon who consistently drew double- and triple-teams
  • Shows a swim move and swipe move that both have pro potential
  • Experience (and effectiveness) lining up as a defensive tackle
  • High motor player who continues pursuit even when the play goes away from him

Weaknesses

  • Sometimes a slow mover out of the gate
  • Punch timing and placement is inconsistent, leading to reps where his gap is controlled by the offense
  • Often lacks a proactive pass rush plan
  • Much of his disruption came from the interior rather than the edge
  • Athletic testing numbers were inconsistent (great 40-yard dash, disappointing three-cone drill)
  • Very little playing experience, especially at defensive end (WR and S in high school)

Jaelen Phillips was the first edge rusher selected when he went to the Miami Dolphins at 18. Kwity Paye went at 21 to the Indianapolis Colts and Payton Turner in a mini-surprise was the 28th pick. Rousseau was the fourth defensive end selected. Jayson Oweh and Joe Tryon went right after, solidifying the run on pass rushers to close out the first round.

With cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II taken in the top ten, Caleb Farley was the first of the second tier to go at pick 22. Greg Newsome went 26th overall and Eric Stokes 29th, just before Buffalo picked.