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Quincy Roche says he's 'comfortable' transitioning to outside linebacker from defensive end

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

Steelers' sixth-round pick Quincy 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.

With the type of production that Roche produced in college, it was surprising to see him fall 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.

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.

Despite being a defensive end in college, Roche says he shouldn't have an issue transitioning to playing standing up at outside linebacker, as he did it in college in certain packages.

"I stood up a lot at Temple, stood up at Miami," Roche said. "I put my hand in the dirt some. I am comfortable for the most part because I have done it before. My position was titled defensive end, but I have done all kinds of things. I had all kinds of packages. I always stood up. I am comfortable. I am just trying to get better every day, work on the little things and keep developing."

Roche is just taking it one step at a time and trying to absorb all the information that the coaches are giving him.

"Just getting better every day," Roche said. "When they say something, I am listening to it. I am showing improvement. Bringing energy, bringing effort. Those are all things I can control. Know the playbook to a 'T' right now. I know I will make mistakes here and there.

"I just want to control the things I can control. Being a high character guy around the building. Controlling my effort, my energy, being a good leader. Those things are well in my control."

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