Updated: May 16, 2021
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
With the type of production that Steelers sixth-round draft pick Quincy Roche produced in college, it was surprising to see him fall to the sixth round.
Defensive coordinator Keith Butler was even surprised that Roche didn't get drafted earlier.
“Well it was a little bit of a surprise him being there, Butler said of Roche. "We rated him around the late 3rd, early 4th, all the way into the 5th round, but like I said, we had different people on our board at the time that might have been rated a little bit higher and so we took the highest-rated guy. ... We had several needs on defense, we got to them. We’re still in need of a couple of positions here and there, but we’ll see what happens.”
Roche played his first three years at Temple before transferring to Miami for the 2020 season. In his college career, Roche had 30.5 sacks, 54 tackles for a loss and eight forced fumbles.
He started 10 games in 2020, finishing the season with 45 tackles and 14.5 tackles for a loss, which ranked second on the Hurricanes and third in the ACC. He also recorded 4.5 sacks, along with leading the ACC with three forced fumbles and he had two fumble recoveries.
Despite a productive college career, Roche somehow fell to the sixth round.
"I'ma shoot you straight. I expected to go higher. It was a long three days sitting on the couch," Rouche said.
There was some disappointment for Roche with falling to the sixth round, but he's just glad to have an opportunity with one of the best run organizations in the NFL. Growing up in Baltimore and then playing college football at Temple and Miami, Roche says he fits the blue-collar mold of the Steelers.
“I’m excited,” Roche said. “I’ve always watched this defense. This is right up my alley, hard-nosed, rugged football. Even though I went low in the draft, it worked out. There aren’t too many programs in the league that would have been a better fit than the Steelers. I can’t wait to start improving and get to work.”
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports thinks the Steelers got a steal in the sixth round with Roche and believes that he'll have an instant impact.
"The Steelers got quality contributions from first-year edge rusher Alex Highsmith in 2020, but gone is Bud Dupree, and every club needs a steady No. 3 rusher in today's pass-obsessed NFL," Trapasso wrote. "Despite only playing in 11 games last year -- shortened due to injury -- Dupree was on the field for 59% of Pittsburgh's snaps in the regular season.
"There's an opportunity for Roche to make a name for himself early in the NFL. And he has the game to do it. Pittsburgh got him on the bargain rack in the sixth round. He likely fell because of his smaller stature on a subpar workout at the Miami pro day, but the former Temple and Miami star has a developed arsenal of pass-rushing moves and plays much bendier around the corner than his measured athleticism would indicate.
In Pittsburgh, Roche can be a classic, stand-up rush linebacker, and his refined game bodes well for his ability to make an instant impact."
With Bud Dupree signing with the Titans in free agency back in March, Alex Highsmith will step up as the starting right outside linebacker, and with Cassius Marsh as the only backup outside linebacker with a solid NFL resume, it wouldn't be surprising to see Roche become the No. 3 outside linebacker and get a good amount of snaps in his rookie year.