The wait is over for help at the outside linebacker position with the Steelers drafting Quincy Roche. If you like productive players, Roche has it covered. He totaled 182 tackles, 54 tackles for a loss and 30.5 sacks in his career. He began his career at Temple before transferring to Miami.
Roche was the “other” pass rusher at Miami, with Jaelan Philips and Gregory Rousseau receiving most of the attention. He was another player that participated in the Senior Bowl.
Here is where he was ranked by some draft outlets.
He was ranked #121 on the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah’s top 150.
He was ranked #168 on Pro Football Focus’ big board.
Joe Marino at The Draft Network projected him as a 3-4 rush linebacker and had him ranked #77 on his big board, and shared his thoughts, saying, “After three seasons at Temple that culminated with him earning AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2019, Quincy Roche leveled up and transferred to Miami for the 2020 season. While his statistical output in 2020 in the ACC doesn’t quite measure up with the monster production he had at Temple in 2019, Roche did prove that he is still a dynamic defensive playmaker against top competition. Roche is a true technician for the position that is polished with his hands, has great vision, and is a quick processor. While he is lean and has modest length, he overcomes any physical deficiencies with technique, flexibility, athleticism, and above-average functional strength for an EDGE of his size. If Roche truly measures in the 240-pound range, he will likely be viewed as a 3-4 outside linebacker, which is fine given his experience in a standup position and his performance in college. Roche has an expansive pass-rushing skill set and is a good run defender, making him a balanced defender that can contribute on every down. In the right scheme, Roche has the ability to develop into a productive starter that knows how to attack the pocket.”
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com gave him a grade of 5.96 (Backup/special-teamer), had a Round 5 projection on him, and summarized him by saying, “Roche has packed the stat sheets for the better part of four years, but he’s very average athletically and doesn’t have the mass to consistently hold up at the point of attack. He’s tight in his lower half, which limits his ability to corner sharply when attacking the pocket. However, he’s limber in his upper body, which creates opportunities to slide off of blocks and make plays at awkward angles. His production should matter, but the athletic profile might push him down the board.”
I did our report at Steelers Depot and was high on him, giving him a third round grade. “Overall, Roche has solid snap quickness, very good hands, can bend around the edge or win with a counter to the inside when passing the rusher. He can set the edge, works over and around blocks to get to the ball, and has the quickness to shoot gaps or chase through traffic. Fine-tuning of his pass rush plan, improvement in snap timing, and improving his technique versus run blocks are things he can improve.
“There is a lot of potential here. He started off a little slow after his move to the ACC, but there was improvement in his play and effort as he got more comfortable. Fifty-four career tackles for a loss is impressive against any competition. You can’t have enough pass rushers, and Roche can get after the quarterback. His best fit is as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 base defense that can be a rotational player and situational pass rusher early and can be a starter with improvement to his run defense on the edge.”
Overall, based on the rankings listed above, this is a high value pick. Getting him in the sixth round fills a need on the defense to backup T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, and Roche will be a special team performer. He has a good pass rush plan and uses hands very well rushing the passer. With added strength and improved technique against the run, he could be a good contributor on the defense.