As Eagles fans we all are aware that our front office has a particular affinity – for better or for worse – for certain schools cough PAC-12 cough, or for certain positions (Quarterback Factory.) We can mock it all we like, but there’s no denying it. The Philadelphia Eagles have shown through their history that they simply value certain areas of their team more than others. In fairness to them, building your team in the draft through your line on both sides of the ball is, in my opinion, the ideal way to assemble a roster. It is what ultimately lead to the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl championship. Unless some sort of drastic philosophical change has occurred in that building that we are unaware of, I don’t expect this to change this season.
The results of the 2020 season has left fans screaming in rage over their selection of WR in years past and demanding that we rectify the situation in this year’s draft. The idea of a Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts – as unlikely as those are to be the picks at 12 – or even a Jaylen Waddle are fun and enticing, but we should brace ourselves for something else. Something that may seem unconventional to the objective observer, but right on par for this organization. I present to you:
Class: RS Sophomore (opt-out)
Hometown: Coconut Creek, FL
Height: 6’5” (in some areas listed 6’7”)
Weight: 260 lbs.
I want to preface this profile here with a couple of disclaimers. Firstly, Rousseau’s stock has fallen a bit as the offseason has moved along and is no longer being projected to go early in the first round by draft experts. However, as we’ve seen before, sentiments by teams on certain players often vary from that which we see from experts. Additionally, The Eagles’ new DC Jonathan Gannon is a bit of a mystery in terms of what defensive scheme he will be employing now that he has full control. It is at this time a bit unclear as to how certain players may fit into his defense. This is something that we will of course begin to understand more as time goes on and he coaches a game or two.
Wide Receiver to Sack Master
Rousseau, a Florida native, began his athletic career in Champagnat Catholic High School as a Wide Receiver and a Safety. Versatility and athleticism are things that the old regime valued greatly and that is something that likely has carried over into the new regime seeing the direction that the league has been moving. After making the switch to the defensive line in his senior season, Rousseau quickly picked up some steam as a three-star recruit receiving offers from many excellent programs, one of which being where he ultimately settled in his hometown of Miami. Though his first season ended tragically with a fractured ankle, his next season was one to behold. He ended the 2019 season with the second most sacks in the country behind the eventual 2020 #1 overall pick, Chase Young.
As mentioned above, Rousseau was an opt-out of the 2020 season, so he is certainly inexperienced in terms of reps at his position. The biggest draw for Rousseau is his size and versatility. During his short collegiate career, you could see him line up as the traditional defensive end as well as on the inside across from the opposing Center. This is something Jim Schwartz would have loved, but it’s unclear if Gannon has the same affection for these types of players.
Raw, Risky – Eye Popping Production
Taking a flyer on Rousseau would definitely be a bit of a risk, especially for an organization that has seemingly whiffed on its past two Defensive End selections. Do I have to name them? Fine. Marcus Smith and Derek Barnett. Happy? Anyway, Rousseau is projected to be a late first round pick, but due to his raw ability it would not surprise me to see him fall to the early second round, right into the Eagles’ lap.
In terms of strengths, Rousseau’s one year of production was eye-popping, he’s a very high effort player, can play downhill, has silky smooth athleticism, agile and slippery in his interior rush, and has hand skills that may be the result of his earlier days playing WR. He could stand to gain a few more pounds to fill out that long frame, his transition from speed to power is not ideal, and he, as mentioned, only had one year of experience at the end position.
The organization has taken its chances in the past. Having taken chances on the injured Sidney Jones in the 2nd round of 2017 as well as a VERY raw, but athletic LB Davion Taylor (Check last years interview below – don’t forget to hit that subscribe button) in the 3rd round of 2020. Howie Roseman has proven that he fancies himself a player developer.
Rousseau is definitely a bit raw and will take some grooming. Whether or not our new defensive staff would be up to that task remains to be seen. Click Here for more Philadelphia Eagles and NFL Draft Coverage.