Last Friday, the weekly musings took on a different theme with thoughts from a player personnel assistant on four 2021 NFL Draft prospects.
Continuing with the second half of the annual piece, today’s article highlights a notable Big 10 wide receiver and two ACC standouts from the past two years. Evaluations are made more difficult this year by the number of opt-outs from prospects during the 2020 campaign, and a pair of the players mentioned today fall into that curious category.
Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
6’6, 266 pounds - 4.74 second 40 (Pro Day)
2020 (did not play); 2019 Stats: 13 games, 54 total tackles, 15.5 sacks, 2 FF
I’m out on Rousseau. I’m not a fan there. I don’t think he’s going to be great. The guy, at the end of the day, is like 6-foot-6. He’s super athletic. He bends well, he doesn’t bend great. His production was mostly against lesser offensive lines. One and a half sacks against Louisiana Tech, four against Florida State, two versus Duke, three versus Pitt, one versus Central Michigan. That’s half of his sacks right there. It’s 15.5 sacks, but seven are against teams that are not elite competition. He could be Danielle Hunter or he could be Dion Jordan.
Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
6’0, 190 pounds - 4.39 second 40 (Pro Day unofficial)
2020 Stats: 5 games, 36 catches, 472 yards (13.1 average), 2 touchdowns
Great hands. Accelerates really easily. His routes are flawless. At worst, he’s going to be a really, really good number two receiver. I don’t know if he’s going to be a number one, but it depends on what your definition of a number one is. If you’re looking for Randy Moss, he’s not that. But I see a world where Rashod Bateman can be a number one receiver on a playoff team. I don’t think that’s outside the realm of possibility.
The only aspect I’m a little bit – a little bit – concerned about is his ability to separate at the line because he played a lot of off-coverage in college. A lot of corners backed up on him because of his wheels. He may not be bad, he just hasn’t had to do it a lot. He’s fast and not only fast in the forty. He’s got game speed. I like his junior film. He’s not as big as Davante Adams, but he has a lot of Davante to his game.
Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson
6’5, 335 pounds - did not work out at Pro Day (back injury)
12 games and starts
He’s the left tackle for a perennial contender and he’s getting no love, which is very weird to me. Jackson is a dancing giant. His feet are unbelievably quick for someone his size. He’s so big and so quick. He’s one of those guys where you might have to worry about him showing up to training camp a little bit heavy. I watched this guy line up against Chase Young in the Fiesta Bowl and whip his butt. He didn’t just tie Chase Young, he beat him. Go back and watch the film and it’s obvious. They played Charlotte and Alex Highsmith of the Steelers two years ago. Every matchup he’s gone into, whether it’s South Carolina or Alabama, he’s been battle-tested and he’s pretty much won every matchup he’s ever had.
There are some people who believe he’s going to have to play guard in the NFL because he’s chubby, but I think those people are wrong. I think he can play right tackle in the same way that Phil Loadholt wasn’t the most athletic guy for the Vikings, but he was a 10-year starter. Why? Because he was so big and strong that all he had to do was be pretty mobile and all he had to do was get hands on you. You couldn’t bull-rush him because he was really big. Jackson isn’t that big, but he’s nimble-footed for his size.
For the life of me, I look at some of these mock drafts that have him third or fourth round and I don’t get it. He’s a sure-fire starter in the league assuming he controls his weight. I think when he’s a pro, that’s something that might get better. I think he lacks the toughness to be a guard and moving him there would be a mistake. At tackle, he can use his feet to seal the edge and that’s where he will thrive.