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2021 NFL mock draft: Miami Dolphins select DE Gregory Rousseau

The Dolphins double up on defensive talent in the first round.

Miami opt out Greg Rousseau expanding his game ahead of NFL draft Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins are back on the clock in our 2021 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft. With the sixth pick in the draft, acting Dolphins general manager jjones164 selected Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons. With a big playmaker on defense already in tow, what will he do with the Dolphins’ second pick, 18th overall in the first round.

Before we get into the pick, check out our Community Mock Draft tracker for the picks that have gone before them.

With the 18th pick in the Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft, the Miami Dolphins have selected Miami edge defender Greg Rousseau.

Here’s jjones164 explaining the pick:

There are still a ton of Day 1 starting-caliber running backs, offensive tackles and wide receivers on the board. With two more picks in the second round remaining after this, we wet Brian Flores’s whistle even more by attacking our DE/pass rushing need with a soon-to-be 21-year-old local talent who has slid down this draft. After taking Parsons sixth overall, we’re doubling down in our quest to give Josh Allen nightmares twice a year by taking Greg Rousseau.

Minus the 40-yard dash, his pro day showed the strength and explosion that helped him earn 19.5 TFL, 54 total tackles, 15.5 sacks (second only to Chase Young), and two forced fumbles with one recovery in 2019. He did that while not officially becoming a starter until the sixth game that season. Like many prospects, there’s limited tape due to opting out of the 2020 season.

Rousseau could’ve benefitted from an additional season in college, as he played a lot of safety and wide receiver in high school, then only had one full college season at defensive end. To say a man that had the second most sacks in the country—as a freshman—has “untapped potential” should terrify the AFC East. He started to come into his own his redshirt freshman year in 2019, after gaining 30 pounds and maintaining his athleticism.

Rousseau measured at his pro day at 6-foot-6.5, 265 pounds, 34 1/4-inch arm length, 11-inch hands and a wingspan just under seven feet. Not only does Rousseau provide more positional flexibility (I know, “Patriot defense”), but with his current frame he can still be developed in the weight room/gym to maximize his abilities. Since we know how this defense looks, I’m picturing a Trey Flowers/Romeo Okwara-like combo (Ogbah/Rousseau), but costing between 25-33 percent what the Lions pay over the next four years. Throw Parsons behind them, and this defense could be terrifying.

With Round 1 in the books for Miami, Coach Flores has all the pieces he needs to make a top-five defense. Day 2 can be for Tua. We’ll dip into the deep WR/OT class and get a RB upgrade. Being in a division with an up-and-coming Josh Allen, as well as Bill Belichick looking to bring his Patriots back to dominance, having a top-five defense for years to come should be the goal for Miami. You’re not going to win in December in Buffalo or Foxborough with only a Tua air raid. Defense travels, wins in the cold, and wins in the AFC East. These picks put the talent together that’s needed to get Miami to these goals.

Erik Schlitt’s thoughts:

For me, this is a reach because Rousseau isn’t the best defensive player remaining on my board. Heck, he’s not even the best defensive end from the University of Miami left on my board—that would be Jaelan Phillips.

Rousseau flashed a lot of upside in 2019, but there are a ton of questions surrounding him that leave me concerned. Why did he not start until halfway through the season? Can he develop his pass rushing skill set that was very raw the last time he stepped on the field? What did he do to keep himself in shape over the past year? Because his pro day was lackluster and the numbers were pretty average—across the board, well below the other top-five edge rushers in this class.

For a player that leans on athleticism to win, there’s a lot of yellow and red in that RAS profile:

Rousseau is talented, but he is a ways away from being a steady producer, and that’s what I want in my first rounders. If he is properly developed, his ceiling can be as high as any edge rusher in this class, but that is too big an if for me at this stage.

If Miami wanted an edge player, Phillips would’ve been my choice for this role, while Azeez Ojulari (Georgia) is custom made for the JACK LB role, and would have been a tremendous replacement for the departed Kyle Van Noy.


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