As we close out the “NFL Christmas” that is the NFL Draft, we are taking a look at some selected players SteelerNation may have not heard about going into the draft. Next up…
Quincy Roche (Edge), Miami (FL), Redshirt Senior
SELECTED: 6th Round, 216th Overall
As we’ve discussed previously, the Steelers saw how valuable depth is on the outside of the defensive line in 2020. After the departure of Bud Dupree in this year’s offseason, it was no wonder the Steelers would be looking to replenish the outside linebacker/edge position in the draft.
Quincy Roche began his career at Temple in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While there, he put up impressive numbers and could have declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. However, Roche wanted to improve his draft stock by proving he could play against tougher competition. This is what led to Roche moving to South Beach and making an impact at Miami; let alone the entire ACC.
Roche is a tough player along the defensive front. He plays best in a three-point stance and has great technique in beating offensive tackles to get into the backfield. In addition, he has a great burst off the ball and is great at moving laterally and disrupting long-developing running plays. Roche has great football intellect and can diagnose plays quickly. Although he isn’t the largest edge player, he is able to beat blockers with technique. Finally, Roche is a high motor player. He played in all 44 games in his college career, and was a reliable anchor at the outside position.
Roche’s size is iffy. He plays as an edge player, but at 6’3” and 243 pounds, he is built as more of an outside linebacker. With this profile, it puts him as an outlier and will force the Steelers to coach him up to be that true outside linebacker that fits in a 3-4 scheme. Taking that a step further, Roche’s coverage skills are lacking, simply because he was never asked to cover in college. Steelers outside linebackers coach, Denzel Martin, is going to have to groom Roche to the outside linebacker the Steelers need in those zone blitz packages.
Roche’s speed looked to also be a concern for NFL teams in the draft as he fell into the 3rd day. With his smaller build, teams were expecting his 40-time to be a bit faster (he ran a 4.62 second 40-yard dash). His game speed is similar, in that he has trouble in pursuit and has difficulty in tackling ball carriers from behind. Although he has a great burst off the ball, he seems to stay at that single speed and is still trying to figure out how to find that second gear.
At the Steelers’ only 6th round pick, I love Roche. In earlier analysis, I saw him going earlier, more later in the 2nd day, than halfway through the 3rd. Roche has a very high ceiling, and if there is any team who can groom an edge player into an outside linebacker, it’ll be the Steelers. Roche will be that reliable depth behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, and will develop into a major force on defense. I cannot wait to see him grow in Pittsburgh.
How do you think the Steelers did at the 216th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft? Let us know in the comments below!