When analysts, media members, and fans put together their own mocks for the upcoming draft, the premise behind them usually doesn’t stray far away from the idea that you’re attempting to guess what the team is likely to do based on their current roster construction and other factors that affect those types of decisions.
But how do things change when a person takes into their own hands what they believe the team SHOULD do with their picks as opposed to what they would realistically predict? Well, Adam Rank of NFL.com did just that and I’m sure you’re all going to have an opinion about it.
With the 13th-overall pick, the Chargers selected .... defensive end Gregory Rousseau?
Yeah, for real. At this point in the draft, both Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater were off the board. However, Jaycee Horn, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and Micah Parsons were all still on the board. So why Rousseau? Here’s what Rank had to say:
There are a lot of different ways you could go here. I don’t mind taking a look at corner and offensive line. But you did a nice job on the line in free agency and should be set (or at least able to wait until the next couple of rounds to address the need). I really love Rousseau as a developing pass rusher. He is obviously a little bit green, but learning on the job across from Joey Bosa should speed up the process. And it’d give this L.A. team its own version of Aaron Donald/Leonard Floyd. (I know Bosa and Donald don’t play the same position, but roll with me.) And yeah, I was wrong about Herbert last year. I won’t be offended if you ignore me.
Right off the bat, this is a hard no for me. Rousseau would have been a pretty notable selection if it was three months ago. Now, after a very underwhelming pro day performance — one that he opted-out and trained for all season — I personally wouldn’t touch him until the second round.
Rousseau jumped 30 inches in the vertical and ran a 7.50 in the three-cone drill. For context, that three-cone time needed to be 7.00 or less to be considered anywhere near “elite” and something you would have expected from the former Hurricane.
In the spreadsheet below, Rousseau joins a rag-tag group of edge rushers that had produced similar numbers in their testing. As you can all plainly see, there aren’t any truly notable names listed. If recent history is any indication, Rousseau is on pace for a pedestrian career at the next level.
These numbers aren’t any more comforting when you take into consideration that Rousseau is being viewed as a raw prospect with immense upside. When teams decide on whether or not they should take the risk on that type of player, the athletic testing is usually leaned upon heavily when considering the potential reward for taking the risk. These numbers won’t likely do that for any team.
Here is a list of all the EDGE rushers in my database with a 7.40 3-cone or worse + sub 33 inch vertical: pic.twitter.com/eVzArIkVDc— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) March 29, 2021
Rousseau’s teammate, Jaelan Phillips, is the better overall prospect with elite testing numbers to back up his play. He also didn’t opt-out of the 2020 season, meaning he’s got much more film that teams can rely on. You can check out his numbers below:
The official Pro Day numbers are out for Jaelan Phillips and he did not disappoint. pic.twitter.com/Gf0TPtvzed— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) April 4, 2021
At the end of the day, this was simply an exercise, but bypassing the top two team needs to take a player with notable concerns regarding his floor at the next level on top of underwhelming athleticism? I’ll pass.
As always, let me know what you all think.