Chase Young was supposed to be a New York Giant, or at least that’s what it felt like for the majority of 2019. In Week 16 of last year, with little to play for aside from draft positioning and self-pride, the G-Men and the Washington Football Team battled in a classic NFC East bout dubbed the “Chase Young Bowl.”
The Giants would go on to claw their way to an overtime victory over Washington, notching their fourth and final victory of the season. Washington, on the other hand, would work their way up the draft board. The rest is history.
Washington went on to use the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 Draft to select Young. Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas came off the board two selections later, landing with the Giants. While Thomas endured an up-and-down rookie campaign, Young has been as advertised. The former Ohio State Buckeye has flaunted his blue-chip traits on his way to a 7.5 sack season and a likely Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
As for the Giants, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham did a great job of creating pressure throughout the season with schematics. However, New York still lacks a true game-changer on the edge. That could all change if ESPN’s Todd McShay’s latest prediction comes to fruition.
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Giants Select Edge Rusher Gregory Rousseau in ESPN Mock
It’s that time again. With the majority of NFL teams sitting at home watching playoff football like you and I, draft season is approaching full bloom. This, of course, means mock draft upon mock draft.
One of the field’s most notable experts, Todd McShay, kicked things off with his inaugural 2021 mock this week, in which he has the Giants solidifying their pass-rush with Miami edge rusher Gregory Rousseau at No. 11 overall.
11. New York Giants
Gregory Rousseau, DE/OLB, Miami-FL*
The Giants managed 40 sacks this season, thanks in large part to Leonard Williams bouncing back and getting 11.5 of them. But few would argue against the Giants needing edge-rushing help to take a much-improved defense to the next level, particularly if they don’t return Williams, who played this season on the franchise tag. Rousseau opted out this season, but he had 15.5 sacks for the Hurricanes in 2019 and has speed and power coming around the corner. Alternatively, offensive line, wide receiver or cornerback could be areas to keep an eye on for New York.
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Rousseau Likened to Chase Young
As McShay pointed out, Rosseau, like many collegiate stars this season, chose to opt-out. However, his freakish traits and previous high-end production will likely have scouts drooling as we move closer to draft day. A former high school wide receiver and safety, the 6-foot-7-inch, 253-pound Rousseau boasts one of the most explosive first-steps in college football and a boatload of untapped potential.
The ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2019, Rosseau amassed 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss during what was just his redshirt freshman season. The former total was just one off of the highest total in the country that season. The owner of that total? You guessed it, Chase Young, who Rousseau has drawn parallels to in the past. In some cases, Rousseau has even been deemed the potential second-coming of the former Ohio State standout, as highlighted by ESPN in their breakdown of possible 2021 NFL combine standouts back in February.
Then again, the next Chase Young could be: Miami’s Gregory Rousseau
What Young just did (21.5 TFLs, 16.5 sacks, three pass breakups and seven forced fumbles) sets an incredibly high bar for a redshirt sophomore, but look at what Rousseau accomplished during his first full season at Miami: 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss, team-high seven quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
His sacks total ties for second in team history, and his tackles for loss total marks the highest at Miami since 2006. A repeat performance or one with even better numbers will make a jump to the NFL a virtual certainty. Rousseau even has a similar frame to Young at 6-foot-7 and 253 pounds.
He will receive much more attention from opponents this fall, and could be a featured player at next year’s combine.
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