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Former NFL Scout says UM pass rusher Gregory Rousseau is a soft football player | 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Gregory Rousseau Miaimi NFL Draft Scout
Former NFL scout Daniel Kelly is not a big fan of Miami Hurricanes pass rusher Gregory Rousseau. Check out this report from the former Jets scout.

Scouting Report: LDE/DT Gregory Rousseau 6’7” 265 (Miami)

40-time: 4.68 Miami Pro Day (

Film Exposure: (2019) Virginia, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Duke 

Tall lanky muscular athletic lean cut body with long arms who looks the part, but cannot play it most of the time. Opt-out 2020. This is exactly the type of player teams will fall in love with because of his measurables and his “potential,” but who will disappoint because he lacks motor and frankly plays like football is not that important to him. He screams that on film.

Below average to average motor. This is exactly the type of player who will perform very well in drills and pro days without the pads, but the film does not lie. Flashes get up and go. He has it in him and he shows he has it in him (Duke), but instead most of the time he instead plays like a very soft, methodical, lumbering player who does not want it. Best game of the bunch was against Duke. Flashed ability more in this game than the rest. Does not generally play with a sense of urgency. Does have some rigidity in his body movements that shows up when he misses in space. Raw and unpolished looking pass rusher who lacks arsenal of pass rush moves. Not impressive versus the run either unless he is either left clean or can manage to come off a block laterally or downfield to make a strong wrapping tackle. An NFL team cannot win with a player like this.

Classic height, weight, speed guy who has a very strong chance of being a bust. His heart is just not in it. Bill Parcells had a saying, “If they do not bite when they are puppy dogs, they generally are not going to bite.” This guy lacks bite and he is not going to develop bite. He does not have that mean or nasty streak. The guy plays as soft as tissue paper most of the time. Drafting him based on “potential,” is going to get a GM fired. Beware of his sack total and his ‘highlights, because that is not who he is a majority of the time on film. Does just enough to get by on raw ability. Rousseau is not good for morale and he does not motivate by example. Most of the time he is just going through the motions. 

Lines up most of the time down at left defensive end with his hand in the dirt, but occasionally Miami lined up him standing up. I love how Rousseau looks pre-snap, but that is where it mostly ends for me. He does have a quick first step, but he has zero pop, twitch or explosiveness at the point of attack. Rousseau uses his hands well and extends his big long arms, but he just lacks any pop or jolt. To his credit he does a good job pushing his weight around to push the pocket. He does not have it in him to be a bull rusher. That is not his mentality nor does he have the explosiveness or pure power to do it.

Rousseau gets tangled up in blocks way too easily and has a whale of a time disengaging and shedding. Got pancaked too easily once. He is toast against double teams. To his credit he does keep coming methodically, but not fast or powerful enough to make a real difference most of the time. Sometimes his persistence pays off and he is able to get close enough to make a play or get a garbage sack. This is how he got most of his sack production in the games I watched. Rousseau is not going to flat out beat a lot of offensive tackles man on man for sacks. He failed to do it most of the time in the college film I watched and the competition level will just become higher in the NFL. If he could not do it much in college, he will not be able to do it in the pros. He lacks fire and desire. He can not seem to get through the back door of the pocket much, he lacks the pure power to go through linemen and he does not have the pass rush moves or pass rush polish to finesse his way into the pocket. He does show a good short-area burst into the pocket if and when he gets in there, but he gives up too easily trying to track down quarterbacks outside of the pocket when they are on the move. Gives up and lets his foot off the gas too soon.

Rousseau spends most of his time dancing around and fooling around on the perimeter and taking plays off. Spends most of his time on the outside looking in. He just does not make enough noise as a pass rusher. He is versatile. Miami moved him all around inside and that is where he seemed to do a little better shooting gaps and occasionally getting his long arms up in the passing lanes. However, he did not do that nearly enough. He does flash great ability, but it is only once in a blue moon. Lacks consistent techniques. Did show off his athletic ability vs. Pitt when he dropped into coverage a few times and looked good doing it. No question he has raw athletic ability. 

Against the run he again has a very hard time disengaging and shedding blocks to make a real difference. Tied up most of the time. Best bet is if he can come off a block laterally or come up from behind to make a strong impact wrapping tackle. He is not a blow up run stuffer or tackler for a loss type. Rousseau is soft against the run. 

Rousseau is the classic player to be aware of. Workout warrior type who under-delivers on the field. A team will fall in love with his height, weight, speed and athletic ability, but it just does not translate on the game film the way it should. Very enticing, but it just is not in him. Extremely disappointing how much time he just fooled around half speed on the perimeter. Even tight ends and running backs handled him on blocks by themselves at times. I was embarrassed for him in every game I watched. Just does not seem to want it and it shows very clearly to anyone who studies the film. The translation is not there and it will only get worse with money. Just a soft player with all the ability in the world who does not care much. Only turns it on when he wants to and generally only when it gets easier. Any team considering him needs to watch the games as a staff I have listed above. He is not an every down productive player. Projects to a situational pass rusher at best. 

Daniel Kelly’s Draft Board:

Gregory Rousseau would not be on my draft board. This is not my type of player I want on my defense. I will give him a third round league grade. He will get drafted and he will play in the league at least for his rookie deal, but the only time my team would see him is when we play the team he is on. 

Probability of being a bust: Extremely high 

If I were a GM, this is the question I need to be answered in my mind about Gregory Rousseau: What did you do during the opt-out year? What was your driving motivation for opting out? 

My Top 10 concerns about Rousseau:

  1. How soft he plays the game most of the time. 
  2. Inability to get off blockers to make plays. 
  3. Lack of want and motor at least 75% of the time. 
  4. He does not play like he cares much about winning. 
  5. Lack of pass rush polish and moves.
  6. Lack of productivity on running plays. 
  7. Does not play with a lot of urgency 75% of the time. 
  8. Does not play with a lot of energy 75% of the time. 
  9. Will he give even less of an effort once he gets paid? 
  10. He only played one full year of college football. 

How NFL offenses will beat him: Block him with the offensive linemen or if you double team him he will be completely neutralized. Challenge him hardcore physically and you can stick a fork in him.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK. 


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