2023 Stock Watch – OLB Quincy Roche – Stock Down

With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we have turned our attention to the offseason. 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: Down

Reasoning: After the Steelers failed to add veteran help off the edge via free agency, they used a fourth-round draft pick on Nick Herbig, an experienced edge rusher out of Wisconsin. While they are open to moving him inside, it seems they want to work him outside first and see if he can hold up, potentially bumping Quincy Roche down a notch, and possibly off the roster.

Honestly, the fact that we’re even talking about Quincy Roche right now in this series speaks to how thin the depth at outside linebacker is behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. Nothing against him, of course, but it’s hardly fathomable that before the 2023 NFL Draft the Steelers could have gone into the regular season with him one snap away from starting.

How much less true is that now than it was? Well, it’s hard to say, considering the fact that we have a lot to learn yet about Nick Herbig, the Steelers’ fourth-round draft pick. Even though they brought outside linebackers coach Denzel Martin out to talk about the pick, both general manager Omar Khan and assistant general manager Andy Weidl volunteered that they view him as an inside-capable player as well.

At least for now, I believe the Steelers intend for Herbig to emerge as the top backup to Watt and Highsmith, if he proves able to handle it. And that means Roche is on notice. That already potentially bumps him down to the fourth outside linebacker position, and it could eventually bump him all the way off the roster.

Many believe the team is still going to add another edge rusher at some point this offseason, likely a veteran. They may even end up targeting the position for one of their preseason trade acquisitions, which has become an annual tradition of sorts.

Roche logged more than 400 snaps as a rookie for the New York Giants after they claimed him off waivers from the Steelers in 2021. He played six snaps last year, spending most of the season on the practice squad.

The Steelers signed him on January 24, shortly after the Giants’ season ended, but they could have claimed him off waivers multiple times during the 2022 season or signed him off of New York’s practice squad. That also tells you that they’re not exactly counting on him being a star. They’re just adding a piece they hope can help.

If he makes the team.

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