CLEVELAND, O.H. (WROC) — With the 30th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills selected defensive end Greg Rousseau from the University of Miami.
The newest Bill has ties to Buffalo. Rousseau’s brother was born there while his parents lived there for a few years in the late 90’s. He still has family living in the area and is plenty aware of the Buffalo Super Bowl era.
“I know about Jim Kelly and the whole nine yards,” he said.
Rousseau led the ACC in sacks as a redshirt freshman in 2019 with 15.5. He also recorded 19.5 tackles for loss. He only played one season for the Hurricanes, opting out in 2020.
“It’s a blessing they believe in me. They told me they liked me and things just worked out and I’m so happy and grateful it did.” said Rousseau. “I’m so excited to be a Buffalo Bill. Bills Mafia all the way.”
The 6’7”, 266 pound edge rusher impressed Bills general manager Brandon Beane from day one, despite not playing last season.
“He’s growing into his body and got a knack for getting to the quarterback,” said Beane. “Greg is an instinct player. It was the pick we wanted and it fell our way.”
Rousseau spent the football season working out and making sure his family stayed safe during the pandemic. Beane added it was especially important to get a pass rusher with two new quarterbacks in the AFC East.
Seen as the future of the Bills defensive edge rushers, Rousseau will have the opportunity to learn under veterans Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison with A.J Epenesa. Beane expects Rousseau will impact the rotation as a rookie.
“I’m a player that’s bringing it from day one,” said Rousseau. “I’m someone who’s going to give high effort at all time. I rely on my motor, but I want to get my technique better and prove myself to my teammates.”
Thad’s Three Things
- Rousseau hits the most glaring Bills need and one that was not addressed at all in free agency: pass rusher. If the Bills are going to get past Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, they must get more pressure on the quarterback. This pick checked a vital box.
- Rousseau may not be the best edge rushing prospect in the draft, but it would not be a shocker if he ends up that way. The upside of a 6-7 edge rusher with Rousseau’s athletic potential is fun and intriguing. He only began playing as an edge rusher as a senior in high school and played only one season at Miami. He’s a project for sure, but there’s also lots of room for growth.
- Most experts felt this first round only had a 15 or 20 legit “first round” level picks. That left the Bills in no man’s land at the end of the first round. There were going to be significant questions or flaws no matter who they picked at 30 and they were going to be unlikely to find a team who wanted to trade up (in fact, no team traded out of round one. It’s only the second time that’s happened since 2002). The Bills took a big swing on a premium position. It may not be a player that works out soon or even works out at all, but it was a reasonable call considering the circumstances presented.