(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Steelers sixth-round draft pick Quincy Roche will provide much-needed depth to the outside linebacker room, as behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, Cassius Marsh is the only one with extensive NFL experience.
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.
“Somehow along the way during this draft process I was labeled as not the most athletic guy. I’m not a guy that will just run a 4.3. I’m not going to jump a 45 inch vertical, but I have decent athleticism. I’m a technician and I’m a football player. When I line up in front of a guy, my technique and my football intelligence are what’s going to make me a good player, while I still possess athleticism.”
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.”
There is 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.”