49ers NFL Draft 2021: 3 edge rushers to target in Round 2

Carlos Basham Jr. #9 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Carlos Basham Jr. #9 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Gregory Rousseau, Miami Hurricanes
Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Gregory Rousseau (15) Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers EDGE Target No. 1: Gregory Rousseau, Miami

For much of draft season, Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau was tabbed as a lock for first-round consideration, particularly following his outstanding 15.5-sack campaign with the Hurricanes back in 2019.

The problem, though, is that year was Rousseau’s only season of note. After being essentially a non-factor in 2018, the 6-foot-7, 265-pound EDGE sat out 2020 amid the pandemic, leaving scouts to base their analysis solely on his 2019 game tape and all the intangibles leading up to the draft itself.

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Even if the 49ers had stayed put at No. 12 overall, Rousseau would have been a massive gamble as a potential boom-or-bust prospect.

Yet Rousseau’s gradual fall out of Round 1 consideration could be a bonus for the Niners, as most big boards now tab him as a likely day-two pick, potentially going as late as San Francisco’s pick at No. 43 overall.

The big concern is the bulk of Rousseau’s sacks in 2019 were gifts where he either had a clear line at the quarterback because of blocking gaffes or was matched up against far inferior blockers. Getting those chances at the NFL level will be rare.

At the same time, though, Rousseau’s massive frame, range and motor should still be a problem for anyone, even the most capable of pro-level blockers.

While Rousseau certainly isn’t worth a first-round risk, he is worth a deep look as a second-round prospect with a lot of upside.

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