CBS: Go Get A Pass Rusher

April 23rd, 2021

Miami DE Gregory Rousseau.

This is music to Joe.

Look, Joe makes no apologies for liking pass rushers. Just like they say about corners, Joe says the same about pass rushers: You can’t have enough.

We only need to look back at the last two Bucs games. They hounded Aaron Rodgers in the NFC title game and the pass rush ran Pat Mahomes all over the turf of The Licht House. Mahomes looked like a labrador puppy chasing a squirrel without a tree to run up.

Bill Dubin of CBS Sports typed that if he were Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht, he’d go get a pass rusher that has quality time to learn while Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett do the heavy lifting.

Top draft priority: Defensive depth

The Buccaneers have had one of the NFL’s best defenses in each of the past two seasons. You can rightly expect them to have one of the league’s best defenses again next year, but if history has shown us anything, it’s that elite defenses usually don’t stay elite for long — at least not if they don’t continually restock the cupboard with high-level talent. Adding Antoine Winfield Jr. last year was a great step in fortifying the back end. Grabbing help on the edge and possibly at linebacker should be a priority, though the Bucs will have the luxury of allowing those players time to develop behind the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul and Lavonte David, among others.

Joe was listening to former Bucs scout and Jets front office guy Pat Kirwan on SiriusXM NFL Radio, who is convinced there is going to be a run on pass rushers early, in part because he’s not overly impressed with the crop.

So Joe is wondering if the Bucs coaches — who have proven they know how to develop talent — can somehow get Gregory Rousseau up and running? Dane Brugler of The Athletic believes Rousseau is a second-round pick.

STRENGTHS: Long, stretched-out athlete who continues to grow into his slender body (played at 245 pounds in 2019)…gets upfield quickly due to his initial step and elongated strides…coordinated body movements, lethal on loops/twists…keeps his momentum downhill with his forward lean and active hands…uses his length to avoid jabs and separate from blockers…accurate ball radar allows him to retrace his steps and close on the football…large tackling radius…sets a hard edge with his frame strength…owns the open-field speed to carry tight ends down the seam or backs on wheel routes…smart, articulate individual who picks up and applies coaching…moved inside to nose tackle over the center on obvious passing downs…remarkable production in 2019, second in the nation (behind Chase Young) with 15.5 sacks, the second-most in a season in school history.

SUMMARY: A one-year starter at Miami, Rousseau lined up at left defensive end in Diaz’s scheme, and reduced inside on passing downs as a three-technique or nose tackle. He was a wide receiver and defensive back for most of his life (moved to defensive line in 2017 as a high school senior), and was thrown into the defensive line rotation as a redshirt freshman with the Hurricanes and blossomed as his playing time increased. He joined Ohio State’s Chase Young as the only FBS players to reach 15 sacks in 2019. A super-long athlete, Rousseau keeps his momentum downhill with violent hands and easy acceleration, helping him to quickly disengage from blocks. He is an intelligent player and can talk the talk when it comes to breaking down pass rush execution, but he is upright and overly reliant on speed/length and needs to improve his anchor, technique and diagnose skills. Overall, Rousseau is a faith-based projection with clear bust potential because he is still learning how to be impactful from snap-to-snap. But his natural instincts and traits (length, frame, athleticism) give him a Chandler Jones-type of ceiling.

Joe’s good friend Emory Hunt, the Czar of the Playbook, isn’t as high on Rousseau as Hunt has him as his No. 9 pass rusher in his Football Gameplan Draft Guide.

– Tremendous length and uses that to routinely walk offensive tackles back into the pocket. For a R-Freshman, he did a fantastic job in playing with his hands in that regard.
– Good athleticism to carry backs down the sideline in coverage, and not looking awkward when asked to make zone drops.
– Stays active around the LOS with his length disrupting passing windows.
– Good pursuit skills on both ends of defense.

Areas of Improvement:
– Extremely raw as a player with only 1 full season of playing experience, which was in 2019. Even then, he was still very raw.
– Doesn’t have an explosive burst off the corner, plays way too high off the snap, combine that with marginal COD skills, and everything looks elongated and slow.
– Needs to continue to get stronger and develop more variety within his moves as a pass rusher. Right now, he’s more of a strong run defender than premier pass rusher. Team will have to be patient with him and develop him.

So here is the thing: The Bucs are all-in on Going for Two. Do they take a chance on losing focus, and take their eye off the ball for a developmental player? Or do the Bucs go with someone they think can make an impact — not next year — but now.

After all, the future is now.

34 Responses to “CBS: Go Get A Pass Rusher”

  1. SB~LV Says:

    Long stride is the killer, IMO, I am worried that he won’t be able to get up to speed and away from NFL tackles and blocking schemes. That and lack of snaps on film . Even at 32 there should not be questions and wishing and a hoping

  2. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Overrated…the whole DL class is iffy

  3. Joe in Michigan Says:

    If it came down to Rousseau or Joseph Ossai, I’d rather have Ossai.

  4. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    A lot of sleepers and hidden gems in this year’s DL class. Guys into the third round will be surprise a lot of folks.

  5. Bird Says:

    He is 6’7 265 lbs and used to be a receiver and defensive back?

    Wonder what year he had that growth spirt where he became one big mother f er

  6. Mike Honcho Says:

    Sure seems like Dane Brugler and Emory Hunt agree on just about no one. When one guy loves someone, the other guy doesn’t.

  7. Leighroy Says:

    High ceiling / high bust potential guys like these are better served gambling on in the 2nd or 3rd round or not at all. But no one is a safe bet at DE/edge this year.

    One of the most important positions in the NFL, and none of them are projected in the top 10 or barely into top 15. Tells you there’s flaws and risk in every EDGE guy this year.

  8. SB~LV Says:

    Yo FSU’ers
    What is the story on the FSU DT ?
    Not in the first but as a player.
    My suspicion is that FSU recruits GREAT talent and their record has sucked leaving good talent playing on bad teams

  9. Allbuccedup Says:

    The pass/edge rushers are plentiful in this years draft. You can get one in the 3rd or 4th round that are just as talented. You have already got two stud edge rushers now. It doesn’t make any sense to use a first round pick on one that could be a bust remember the guy from Clemson.

  10. Mitch Says:

    If the bucs can not draft Azee Ojulari in the first I’d rather the bucs draft a LB or CB in the first then draft Patrick Jones II in the second. Jones II is physically and athletically similar (no one is the same) to JPP. He has a relentless motor, loves football, and can take over for him when he leaves or retires in one-three years. Hard pass on Rousseau.

  11. Allbuccedup Says:

    GAINES ADAMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Magicbuc Says:

    Rousseau = Gholston …is that worth a 1st Round pick?

  13. Mitch Says:

    Allbuccedup – Those are two situations, and can make the case that it makes more sense to take one now especially if the are the BPA on the bucs board. The difference is this year the bucs don’t necessarily need any position and can develop them behind great players. However in 2007 the bucs needed a stud pass rusher because Simeon Rice was on injured reserve and released due to a failed physical.

    A tragedy what happened to Gaines.

  14. Allbuccedup Says:

    Mitch true!

  15. Allbuccedup Says:

    I am an offensive guy if they do not need anyone in particular I would like to see them go offense in the first couple of rounds and defense the rest. But thats just my opinion.

  16. PSL Bob Says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Winning now and building for the future are not mutually exclusive. We’ve already demonstrated we can win now. We’ve got all of our starters back and many of our backups, so why can’t we win again this year? Go for quality depth and hope that those players selected in the draft can be coached up enough to step in should the injury bug bite.

  17. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    The Rousseau comp to Will Gholston is a good one. Will has gotten better over the years, but it took a long while and he still doesn’t generate much pressure. Most of Rousseau’s production did not come from edge but from kicking inside. He has a low ceiling. I’d rather go after a guy like Joe Tryon who is really raw but with a high ceiling.

  18. Bucsfanman Says:

    This will be a topic of conversation before, during, and after the draft. And a good reason why players like Etienne are discussed at length. There are few sure-fire prospects at edge. Do you take a chance? Is Rousseau the next Noah Spence?
    I know everyone has a different opinion.

  19. JWBUCS Says:

    I agree with Mitch in regards to a 1st round draft of Azeez Ojulari…

  20. Bruce Blahak Says:

    @mitch, you’re on to it…love the

  21. Rayjay1122 Says:

    The way COVID affected college football, I am not sure I trust most players in this draft to come in as sharp as in past drafts. I an really glad we are in such a rare position right now to have such flexible draft options.

  22. 813bucboi Says:

    if we still have to be patient and develop him, why not go with jordan smith-UAB…j.smith is 6’7 255….

    dylan moses from bama would be a great pick for LB depth….

    GO BUCS!!!!

  23. Bruce Blahak Says:

    it’s a risky draft, probably be some big busts with the opt-outs that haven’t played but probably some hidden gems late working the opposite way…some that need more playing/development

  24. ocala Says:

    Not a fan of Rousseau. I like Joe Tryon from Washing allot more. Rousseau is very top heavy and stiff. Tryon is much more fluid athlete.

  25. Will Says:

    The kid was a WR/DB most of his life and got moved to Dline in 2017. This shows me that he’s an athlete and the growth spurt probably made him a bit awkward but he had a great season in 2019. He’s a project with potential to have great return on investment. All depends on his work ethic and willingness to learn. To me not worth the risk of a 1st round pick but maybe 2nd or 3rd. The difference for us this year is we don’t need our 1st pick to come in and be a starter like we normally do so if he’s there and high on the Bucs board I wouldn’t be surprised if they take him and with our coaching staff if he’s a bust it’s all on him.

  26. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    if zaven collins falls bucs need to go get him guy is going to be a replacement for JPP or just another LB running around out there, he weighed in at 270 the other day

  27. SlyPirate Says:

    Dusthty … I think Zaven is a top five talent in this draft. Great instincts, super athletic, great tape, great size. I’m all for the Bucs moving up to get him.

  28. m0j0 Says:

    I guess I’m in the minority but I would be very happy with Rousseau as the pick.

  29. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I too like Azeez Ojulari. I think he’ll be gone by 32, though. The Bucs might have to trade up to get him, that’s why I was thinking Ossai. Ossai is raw, but Todd Bowles could mold him into a good NFL player, IMHO.

  30. Joe in Michigan Says:

    m0j0: If the Bucs do draft Rousseau, I’ll be rooting for him.

  31. Cobraboy Says:

    Gambling in the first round is how a team keeps the cupboards bare…

  32. Ben Says:

    No thanks to Gholston 2.0 in the first. Joe Tryon looks promising or go CB with bpa. I like the potential of Ossai as well. Looks like a JPP clone with a high motor and willingness to get better. I think adding depth on edge and on the o line as well as at corner and off ball linebacker in mid rounds is important.

  33. Scott Says:

    i like the vandy edge guy or rashad weaver get them later

  34. Scott Says:

    levi u washington looks like a good de under sized but strength of 330 pounder great first step