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Which edge rushers might fall to Bucs in first round of NFL draft?

Keep an eye on Miami’s Gregory Rousseau and a former college teammate of Vita Vea.
If Miami's Jaelan Phillips isn't around for the Bucs with the No. 32 overall pick, maybe former Hurricanes edge rusher Gregory Rousseau will be.
If Miami's Jaelan Phillips isn't around for the Bucs with the No. 32 overall pick, maybe former Hurricanes edge rusher Gregory Rousseau will be. [ KEITH SRAKOCIC | AP (2019) ]
Published Apr. 14
Updated Apr. 14

If Miami’s Jaelan Phillips is off the board at No. 32, here are five other edge rushers that might be options for the Bucs at the end of the first round:

1. Gregory Rousseau, Miami (6-6, 266)

Gregory Rousseau had only one standout season for the Hurricanes.
Gregory Rousseau had only one standout season for the Hurricanes. [ CHRIS SEWARD | AP (2019) ]

Measurable of note: Adds a wingspan (83¼ inches) to a tall frame

Rousseau is one of the most interesting prospects in the draft. He played sparingly in 2018, exploded for 15½ sacks the next year and opted out of last season because of coronavirus concerns. How will teams weigh his limited production against his enormous potential?

Related: Why opt-outs are this NFL draft’s biggest unknown

2. Jayson Oweh, Penn State (6-5, 257)

Penn State's Jayson Oweh is an elite athlete but didn't record a sack last season.
Penn State's Jayson Oweh is an elite athlete but didn't record a sack last season. [ CARLOS OSORIO | AP (2020) ]

Measurable of note: His 40-yard dash (4.36 seconds) sizzled on pro day

Like Rousseau, Oweh is pure potential. He’s an elite athlete but only started eight career games for the Nittany Lions and didn’t record a sack at all last season. The Athletic compares his boom-or-bust potential to the Bucs’ Jason Pierre-Paul.

3. Azeez Ojulari, Georgia (6-2, 249)

Georgia's Azeez Ojulari led the SEC in sacks last fall.
Georgia's Azeez Ojulari led the SEC in sacks last fall. [ BRYNN ANDERSON | AP (2020) ]

Measurable of note: A 10-foot, 7-inch broad jump displays his athleticism

Ojulari led the Bulldogs with 5½ sacks in 2019 and led the entire SEC with 8½ last fall. He says he models his game after Bucs star Shaquil Barrett. If he slips this far — unlikely but possible — he might have a chance to join him in Tampa.

4. Joe Tryon, Washington (6-5, 259)

Joe Tryon was one of the Pac-12's top defensive players in the last season he played.
Joe Tryon was one of the Pac-12's top defensive players in the last season he played. [ DAVID ZALUBOWSKI | AP (2019) ]

Measurable of note: A 35-inch vertical jump is among the best in this class of edge rushers

A former Huskies teammate of Vita Vea, Tryon led Washington with 12½ tackles for loss and eight sacks in 2019. But like Rousseau at Miami, he opted out last season, which makes his progress tougher to gauge. Tryon’s size could make him an intriguing option at the end of the first round.

Related: Which NFL draft prospects were helped, hurt by opting out?

5. Joseph Ossai, Texas (6-3, 256)

Texas' Joseph Ossai was an all-Big 12 performer last season.
Texas' Joseph Ossai was an all-Big 12 performer last season. [ MICHAEL AINSWORTH | AP ]

Measurable of note: His 41½-inch vertical jump is elite at this position

Ossai is more seasoned than others on this list after appearing in 36 games for the Longhorns and leading them in sacks each of the past two seasons. He also led the Big 12 with 16 tackles for a loss last season. The drawback: questions about his techniques and flexibility as he moves to the next level.

Related: Picking last on Day 1 of NFL draft is not necessarily a bad thing

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