There has been a lot of intrigue following the Pittsburgh Steelers sixth round selection Quincy Roche and rightfully so. The 6 foot 3, 245 pound redshirt freshman came out of the University of Miami as a highly talented edge rusher out of the ACC. Roche himself was paired alongside the Miami Dolphins first round selection Jalen Phillips who was chosen with the 18th overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft. Although the stats might have leaned more in Phillips’ favor, it is safe to assume that having Roche opposite him on Saturdays was a good reason for his success.
The pick came due to last year’s starting outside linebacker Bud Dupree leaving to join the Tennessee Titans. Dupree and counterpart T.J. Watt built a strong connection over the past three seasons that has ultimately led to double digit sacks for both pass rushers in the same season. The production/responsibility now lies in the hands of not only Watt himself but with last year’s second round selection Alex Highsmith, who will seemingly be the team’s new starting outside linebacker due to Dupree’s departure.
The selection of Roche was clearly to address the depth issue at that position. We saw the effects injuries can have on your team first hand last season when Dupree went down mid season with a torn ACL. That being said, with Dupree now gone, and Highsmith set to take his place, having talented and capable players waiting under the wings of seasoned veterans is always a luxury to have. We can only hope Highsmith will stay on the field as long as possible. Everyone is excited to see his individual progression after hearing the reports of how much work he himself put in during the off-season. Roche just allows for this team to have a potential “comfort blanket” at this position, a low risk high reward pick for the Steelers.
In turn, that would mean that Roche himself will have a hard time finding playing time on the field this coming season. While we can assume he will find the field in a special teams role, whether or not he’s able to rush the passer as much as he wants is still left in question. That is not going to stop Roche from preparing like the starter week after week, and he seems to have the mentality to match that. In a recent interview with Steelers.com, Roche discussed how his mentality is going into the 2021 season and honestly, he seems to be the type of player the Steelers look for.
“That is the mentality I have been groomed to have from when I first started learning the fundamentals of football early in my career,” said Roche. “It’s not all about sacks all of the time. Don’t get me wrong, sacks are important. But if you can get tackles on special teams, tackles for a loss, if you can force the ball out of the ball carrier’s hands, the quarterback’s hands, those things are more important than sacks. It’s about being disruptive as much as possible, batting the pass down. Not every game is going to be a three-sack game. You might have two pass defenses, three tackles for a loss, instead of 3 sacks. Some games it might be a blocked kick and 10 tackles and no sacks. those are huge momentum swingers. They help the team a lot. They bring momentum and energy to the team. I try not to get caught up in sacks, sacks, sacks. Just be disruptive.”
I’m not one for making assumptions, my dad taught me at and early age what that does to you, but I will say that Roche was a talented player coming while at the University of Temple before transferring to Miami University, and although he did not have the statistics while in the ACC to back his play up, his dynamic skill set and overall build is why snagging Roche in the sixth round was an absolute steal.
Are you excited to see Quincy Roche in action this season? Let us know below!