The Cleveland Browns are more than likely going to address a key need on defense with their first pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Since the Draft is such big business for so many people, that means there are always new mock drafts, and always people predicting and projecting players to fall to certain spots all the time; despite the fact that it rarely ever goes the way “experts” predict it to go. Todd McShay is one of those experts, and he’s projecting Gregory Rousseau to the Browns.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with Rousseau as a prospect but most people would agree that his teammate, Jaelan Phillips is the player most would prefer. The odds of him being there at 26, where the Browns pick, isn’t likely. So McShay believes that Rosseau will be the one the Browns ultimately take.
That’s not a bad get if all the other players that fans are clamoring for are gone. Rousseau isn’t the perfect prospect, as many see him as a good athlete but with limited positional skills. There’s also a debate about whether or not he’s a first-round pick or a second-round pick. Truthfully, that’s not a big deal this late in the round. If we’re talking just about eight or nine spots difference and there’s a belief that he’ll be gone by the fourth pick in the second round, you take him if he’s your guy. Don’t split hairs over whether he’s a first-rounder or not. If he’s the guy, take him.
The question, however, should ultimately come down to positional value. Let’s say Rousseau is on the board, and for the sake of argument, let’s say he’s the 6th best defensive end from the Draft. Do you take him, or – again for the sake of argument – the third-best safety if he’s there? How much stock do you put in the defensive end position, compared to another position of need like linebacker or safety? What if another player unexpectedly falls to that spot who isn’t an end or maybe even a defensive player?
Is Rousseau that good of a prospect that you’d go with him no matter what? I don’t think you do. Positional need is important but when you’re that deep into a round, you should worry more about getting the best player at a position of need and not just zeroing in on one specific position.