The New York Giants are in dire need of EDGE rushers. Since trading away Jason Pierre-Paul in 2018, they have failed to replace him. Drafting Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, and signing Markus Golden were the only real attempts to try to build a pass rush. Leonard Williams had a stellar 2020 season, totaling 11.5 sacks and 30 quarterback hits. However, he is not an EDGE rusher, and usually splits his time between the interior of the defensive line as well out on the edge. This year’s EDGE draft class has some potential stars that the Giants could consider with their 11th overall pick, as well as on days two and three. The New York Giants 2021 NFL Draft must include an EDGE rusher.
New York Giants 2021 NFL Draft: EDGE Rushers to Target
The University of Miami has three EDGE rushers entering the draft this year. Here are the three young pass rushers from Miami who could potentially head to East Rutherford this spring and join the Giants.
Miami Hurricanes Three EDGE Rushers
Gregory Rousseau is 6’7″ and 265 pounds. He is the player who is getting the most hype out of these three EDGE rushers. He decided to opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, but his 2019 season definitely turned heads and likely ensured he will be a first-round selection in the draft. In 2019 Rousseau totaled 15.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss and 54 tackles. When you watch him on film, the first thing that jumps out is his frame. Rousseau’s 6’7″ frame is hard to miss on the football field.
He has all the traits and skills to be great, but a downside is how long he has been playing the position. Rousseau only started playing on the defensive line his senior year of high school, which was in 2017. Nonetheless, it is impressive that he has become such a dominant force at a relatively new position.
Rousseau is tough for opposing offensive linemen to move. He is good against the run and has displayed really good athleticism. But for all that is good, he is a very raw prospect and can look lost on same plays. He also doesn’t have a great burst and is too upright due to his large frame.
Gregory Rousseau should be considered to be a project. He definitely has the potential to become better due to his natural gifts, but he got away with a lot of bad technique in college that will definitely not translate well to the NFL. If the Giants do draft Rousseau, Patrick Graham and Sean Spencer will have to teach him natural pass-rushing moves to better help him in the long run. The one worry is that NFL tackles will manhandle him. His long reach helped him fend off college-level tackles but that will not work at the next level. His length is both a gift and a curse, his tall frame hinders him from a having a quick pass rush burst and overall quickness. He will have to learn a lot technique wise once he is in the NFL.
Quincy Roche is 6’4″ and 235 pounds and he played at Temple for the first three years of his collegiate career before transferring to Miami for the 2020 season. In 2019, he was the AAC Defensive Player of the Year after racking up 13 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. His 2020 numbers at Miami did not equate to the production he had at Temple (4.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss). Nonetheless, Roche has a very impressive skillset that can definitely translate well to the NFL. He could be a force for the Giants if drafted, and would develop well in Patrick Graham’s defense.
Roche has good speed around the edge and uses his power to his advantage. He has a good burst and technique with his hands. But he isn’t great against the run.
Quincy Roche should be on the Giants radar come April. His speed and overall technique make him a very solid pass rusher. Roche will likely hear his name called on day two of the draft, so if the Giants want him, they have to hope he falls to pick 42 or 76.
Jaelan Phillips is 6’5″ and 265 pounds and he is another intriguing pass rusher that could definitely hear his name called by the Giants. Like Roche, Phillips was also a transfer athlete, but he came from UCLA. The one big concern for Phillips is his injury history. He was announced as medically retired back in 2018 after sustaining a concussion and sat out of football in 2019. However, he transferred to Miami and in 2020 he totaled eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. While the injuries will definitely be a topic of discussion among teams when assessing Phillips, there is a lot to like about his game.
He is a balanced defender who has displayed both versatility and physicality. But in addition to his injury history, his hand technique is also an issue.
Phillips is a tricky prospect. He could very well be the best pass rusher out of these three if he stays healthy. But that is a big if. If the Giants do take Phillips, and he is projected to be selected on day two, fans should be very excited about what Phillips could bring.
The Giants biggest problem on defense has been trying to find a pass rush. They have consistently failed to do so for the past few years, but this draft class could change that. Just focusing on the players coming out of Miami, there are three players entering the draft this year who could all come in and help change this Giants defense from day one.