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2021 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills EDGE Gregory Rousseau injury analysis

Rousseau is as healthy as they come.

Georgia Tech v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Just after the stroke of midnight, the Buffalo Bills selected the latest member of the team’s defense in Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau. Despite not playing in 2020, opting out due to COVID-19, the front office believes Rousseau possesses the traits to provide pressure off the edge, something they were sorely lacking last season. Fortunately, the newly minted draft pick comes to Buffalo with minimal injury concerns. Below is Rousseau’s publicly known injury history.

Injury History

2018 — True Freshman year: Appeared in two games before suffering a right ankle fracture against Savannah State, missed the remaining 11 games. He required season-ending surgery to stabilize the break and ultimately missed the remainder of the season.

2019 — Redshirt Freshman year: Appeared in 13 games, racking up 15.5 sacks, 54 total tackles, and 19.5 tackles for loss. For those efforts, he was named All-ACC First Team and All-America Second Team along with a selection to the All-America Freshman team.

Injury-wise, Rousseau was slowed by a lower back injury during training camp but appeared to resolve without incident in time for the season opener. Details are not specific regarding the injury, but the information available did not appear to signify that it was worrisome.

2020 — Redshirt Sophomore year: Opted out due to COVID-19 to assist his mother who was on the front lines working as a neuro/ICU nurse in a COVID unit down in Florida.

Bills Injury Impact

Rousseau’s publicly known injury history is unremarkable. The right ankle fracture appears to have been a distal fibula fracture based on the fact he required surgery and that he was out for the remainder of the season. 78.6 percent to 90 percent of NFL players who sustain a distal fibular fracture returned to play football within one year, according to research. While Rousseau was not yet an NFL player, his return to the field without complication supported the research.

The low back injury was so vague and this was not a recurring issue. I am rather unconcerned as 80 percent of the population will have some type of lower back pain during their lifetime.

The biggest concern I have for Rousseau entering the NFL is acclimation injuries such as hamstring, calf, and groin strains that may hamper his development. He did put on 20 pounds of muscle while training during his opt-out, but this shouldn’t hinder his abilities or put him at any greater risk of injury.

The Rousseau pick did confirm trends that I noticed during general manager Brandon Beane’s past several drafts. The front office likes to use high draft picks to select players with minimal injury history, and does not appear concerned about fractures that caused prospects to miss significant time. I have little concern for Rousseau’s availability entering the 2021 season. Here’s to hoping that he stays healthy and productive this season.