49ers NFL Draft: 3 first-round prospects who could fall into Round 2

Caleb Farley #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Caleb Farley #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Gregory Rousseau, Miami Hurricanes
Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Gregory Rousseau (15) Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 3: 49ers can gamble on EDGE Gregory Rousseau in Round 2

Unlike 2019, when San Francisco grabbed a clear-cut stud edge rusher in Nick Bosa at No. 2 overall, there’s no bona fide guarantee pass-rusher in the 2021 NFL Draft class.

Essentially every EDGE has some sort of major question mark.

In the case of Miami’s Gregory Rousseau, it’s the fact his game tape almost entirely stems from his breakout 2019 campaign where he boasted an outstanding 15.5 sacks.

The year before, Rousseau saw the field for the Hurricanes for just one game where he registered a single sack and didn’t get close to the quarterback. And amid the pandemic, Rousseau opted to sit out 2020, leaving analysts to go solely off his 2019 game film and the intangibles, such as his imposing 6-foot-7, 265-pound frame.

Rousseau in Round 1 would be a risk for any team, even for the 49ers when they initially held the No. 12 overall pick. Yet for much of the leadup to draft day, Rousseau was pegged as an easy first-round pick.

Except that’s started to change.

The Draft Network currently has Rousseau ranked as the No. 30 overall prospect, whereas Pro Football Focus ranks him at No. 36.

There are certainly safer prospects without as big a boom-or-bust risk than Rousseau. San Francisco has some pass-rushing needs to help out Bosa in 2021 and beyond. And while Rousseau does carry some notable questions about his pro-level impact, especially right away, looking at him as a Round 2 target does make a good deal of sense.