Quincy Roche Immediately Impacts the Steelers Defense

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Quincy Roche
MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 30: American defensive lineman Quincy Roche of Miami (55) during the 2021 Reese's Senior Bowl on January 30, 2021 at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Pittsburgh’s new addition Quincy Roche fell down the draft board throughout the 2021 draft and the Steelers snatched him in the sixth round with the 216th pick. Quincy Roche is a freak athlete and can be used as a chess piece all over the defense but he still fell down the board due to his lack of technical ability. The Steelers were surprised to see Roche on the board at 216 because he was slated as a player who wouldn’t be available past the third round. Roche’s athletic ability alone makes this pick a home run in the sixth round. For the Steelers, who are lacking at edge depth, this pick could prove to be Pittsburgh’s most valuable selection in the 2021 draft.

Quincy Roche Gives an Immediate Impact to the Steelers Defense

Time at Miami 

Quincy Roche was a redshirt senior who had only one season at the University of Miami after he transferred from Temple. In 2020, Roche started all 10 games at defensive end where he had 45 tackles, which included 14.5 tackles for a loss and four and a half sacks. He was also tied for the ACC lead with three forced fumbles and also recovered two fumbles. Roche’s best game of the season came against the Pitt Panthers where he had seven tackles which included four tackles for loss. He also added one forced fumble and recovered one fumble. Roche also holds the highest career pass-rushing grade in the 2021 draft class (93.0) according to PFF.

Time at Temple 

While at Temple, Roche was utilized as a chess piece all over the field. He totaled 137 total tackles, with 39.5 tackles for loss while lining up on the defensive line for three seasons. He also had 26 sacks in those seasons. He earned American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year honors. The most important stat, however, was his three blocked kicks over the course of his college career. Roche will start out as a special teamer for Pittsburgh, where he already can be a chess piece for the Steelers special team unit.

Roche’s Role

Roche will play as a primarily special teams player in his first year as a Steeler. His previous experience as a special teamer at Temple will be beneficial for the leap to the NFL. His ability to be effective on special teams alone allows him to make the 53 man roster.

I fully expect to see Roche get some snaps on the defense as a rotational edge rusher behind Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt. After the loss of Bud Dupree, the Steelers need depth at the outside linebacker position. Steelers edge rushers have found it easier than most to find success due to the amount of talent of the defense. This allows for them to have easier one-on-one matchups with tackles as TJ Watt is usually double-teamed on the opposite side.

Quincy Roche can be the chess piece that Pittsburgh needs on the defense. Roche’s athleticism will become a problem at the next level if he can be coached up in the technical department. Roche gets the opportunity to develop in Pittsburgh without the pressure of being a day one or day two pick. Pittsburgh’s new addition is a promising prospect that the Steelers should really look to get involved early in his career. The Steelers will have a large turnover next season with this most likely being Vince Williams last year in Pittsburgh. TJ Watt is up for a major extension and the Steelers will be looking for someone to rotate in behind him for the next couple of years.

The Last Word

As the Steelers look for a revamp of the defensive side of the ball, Pittsburgh’s new addition Quincy Roche’s ability to impact the game by rushing the passer will be vital in bolstering the pass rush. To start off his career, Roche will be primarily a special teamer in his first year with the opportunity to rush the passer on third and long blitzes this season. As he becomes more technically sound, he could become a very successful edge rusher during his time in Pittsburgh.

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