2023 Stock Watch – OLB Quincy Roche – Up

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we turn our attention to the offseason and everything that means. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.

Player: OLB Quincy Roche

Stock Value: Up

Reasoning: With the Steelers failing to bring in Bud Dupree and also releasing Jamir Jones, Quincy Roche as of now stands to be the next man up at outside linebacker. A former sixth-round draft pick, he did not make the initial 53-man roster in 2021 and was claimed off waivers, finally circling back to Pittsburgh this offseason.

Jamir Jones isn’t here anymore. Neither is Malik Reed, for that matter. Bud Dupree apparently never even talked contract numbers. So who is left behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith right now? Well, it’s Quincy Roche—and not much else.

The Steelers’ sixth-round draft pick in 2021, Roche lost out to Jones during the preseason that year for the final spot on the 53-man roster—and then Jones was waived after a few games in favor of Derrek Tuszka. Tuszka left, Jones was brought back, and now Jones is gone and Roche has taken the roundabout turn back to Pittsburgh.

So what happened in the interim? Surely they intended to sign him to their practice squad, but the New York Giants claimed him off waivers instead. He played in 14 games for them in 2021, logging 401 defensive snaps and another 109 on special teams, so he wasn’t sitting idle while he was gone. He even picked up two and a half sacks there and a forced fumble.

Roche didn’t make the Giants’ initial 53-man roster in 2022, and the Steelers could have claimed him back then. They elected not to, and instead he found himself on New York’s practice squad for much of the year. He did play in three games, logging all of six defensive snaps and 28 on special teams.

Finally, on January 24, the Steelers signed him to a Reserve/Future contract apparently after the Giants decided not to, although it’s possible he decided he didn’t want to himself but would rather look for other opportunities.

Since he’s been back in Pittsburgh, the Steelers have willingly lost both of their top backup outside linebackers from last season. It’s obviously an area of the roster that they really need to address, but with the way things currently look, he may well have a strong chance of making this team as the fourth player off the edge.

Now, is he going to wind up being any more noteworthy than Tuzar Skipper or Olasunkanmi Odeniyi or half a dozen other preseason phenoms? Probably not. But you can’t know if you don’t give him the chance.

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