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Bills Analytics: Drafting Edge Rush

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In the 2021 draft, the Buffalo Bills have the 30th pick. In my opinion, we need to address our ability to get to the opposing quarterback. We need to select an edge rusher. The best option, from my perspective, would be Azeez Ojulari. He is a 6’3″ 240-pound edge rusher that played at Georgia.  He’s currently projected to go before 30, but if he is still available, he should be our guy.

Azeez Ojulari analysis and weaknesses

Azeez plays aggressively with passion and good fundamentals.  I like his closing speed and ability to change direction. In his pro day, he posted an unofficial 4.60 forty time with 28 reps on the bench press. In 2020, he put up 9.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss on an impressive Bulldogs defense. He scored a 6.42 on his combine grade; this statistic gives an estimate of the player he is going to be. It’s true that he is a little undersized, has a limited pass rush arsenal, and, at times, shows his hand too soon.  But I like his raw talent.

Gregory Rousseau analysis

Another option is Gregory Rousseau. He is a 6’7″ edge rusher out of Miami University. He scored a 6.33 on his prospect draft grade. With this score, he is projected to be a starter in the NFL in two to three years. This player is projected, in most drafts, to be available at 30. He opted out of this season due to COVID and family reasons.  When he is on the field, he is a monster. In 2019, the last season he played, he played 529 snaps and posted 15.5 sacks with 19.5 tackles for a loss. He posted an 80.7 pass-rush grade, which is his wins on the line and his stats on passing downs. During his pro day, he ran a 4.68 forty time, put up 21 on the bench press, and has a 30-inch vertical. Not to mention, he has an impressive 83 and ¼ inch wingspan and has 11-inch hands. Even if he can’t get to the quarterback, he puts his hands up and bats that pass down. He has all the intangibles to become a quality edge rusher with the right coaching.

Things Rousseau struggles with and needs improvement

Even with all the upsides, there has to be a downside.  He has a small sample size of college-level games, just one season. He needs to work on his first punch off the ball, and he needs to work on staying low and keeping leverage. Being 6’7″, this will take some work.

Fit with the Buffalo Bills

The Miami Hurricanes ran a 4-3 defense when he attended, blitzing less and playing coverage more, similar to the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills have run a 4-3 defense since Coach McDermott arrived and are in the bottom half of the league in blitzing at 24.3%. This means that Rousseau has experience in a defense similar to Buffalo and as part of that defense, was able to get to the quarterback even without the blitz, just him against the man in front of him.  

These guys are both great options, and either one would fill a hole we have in our defense. 

Here’s a side by side

Player NameTotal TacklesForced FumblesPasses DefendedFumble RecoveriesPass rush win rateQuarterback pressuresRun stop rate
Azeez Ojulari (2020)3142124.3%3511.2%
Gregory Rousseau (2019)5421117.6%4517.1%
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