With the turbulence of this past year, there has not been any semblance of consistency. And even though Miami’s defensive end position was forced to make adjustments during fall camp, Senior EDGE, Quincy Roche, provided a steady pass-rush presence for the Canes throughout the season.
The star transfer was initially expected to complement Canes’ 2019 breakout and fellow draft prospect, Gregory Rousseau, to deliver a nightmare combination for opposing QBs. When Rousseau opted out for the season, the expectations for Miami’s disruptive pass rush were slightly tempered as it was unclear how other fellow draft prospect and 2020 breakout, Jaelan Phillips, would contribute on the opposite end of Roche after not playing since 2018. The Roche-Phillips combination proved to be one of the most formidable in the nation.
EDGE Quincy Roche Draft Snapshot:
2021 NFL Draft Ranking* - 93rd Overall, EDGE9
(Position Ranking based on composite average of 50 big boards)
Height: 6’02.7” (34th Percentile)
Weight: 243-pounds (13th Percentile)
Hand: 9 1⁄2 inch (32nd Percentile)
Arm: 32 inch (12th Percentile)
Wing: 80 3/8 inch
Pro Football Focus (PFF) Grades
- Overall 2018 PFF Grade: 77.4, 699 Snaps, 22 Run Stops, 28 QB Hurries
- Overall 2019 PFF Grade: 93.5, 710 Snaps, 22 Run Stops, 25 QB Hurries
- Overall 2020 PFF Grade: 82.0, 582 Snaps, 18 Run Stops, 29 QB Hurries
Pro Day Results:
Vertical: 32.5-inch (41st Percentile
Bench Press: 23 reps (56th Percentile)
Broad Jump: 9’11” (67th Percentile)
40-yard: 4.68 (73rd Percentile), 10-yard Split: 1.62 (72nd Percentile)
Shuttle: 4.5 (75th Percentile)
3-Cone: 7.2 (unofficial)
Dominating From the AAC to the ACC
Before joining the ACC, Roche provided a sparkplug for the Temple Owls in the AAC. Hailing from New Town High School in Owings Mills, MD, where he also played basketball, Roche was a three-star recruit, ranked 1469th in the nation in 2016. Roche fell under the radar recruiting-wise as he only got offers from Temple, Appalachian State, Furman, Monmouth, and Toledo.
As is usually the case on the field for pass rushers, it’s not how you start, but how you finish. And Roche certainly made the most of his time with the Owls by outperforming his recruiting rankings. In his first two seasons, Roche gathered 88 tackles, 20.5 TFLs, and 13.0 Sacks.
However, Roche truly turned heads and put his name on the national scene during a productive Junior season. In the 2019 campaign, he recorded 49 tackles, 19 TFLs, and 13.0 Sacks on his way to the AAC Defensive Player of the Year. Perhaps the most impressive metric was Roche’s 93.3 pass rushing PFF grade, only trailing 2020 second overall pick, Chase Young.
Interesting draft nugget that I'm pretty sure no one else besides me cares about:— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) August 7, 2020
Miami now lists edge transfer Quincy Roche at 245 pounds after he was 235 at Temple last season.
Super talented pass-rusher with size/strength as biggest concern so this is nice to see pic.twitter.com/Io0sM0sjpr
Prior to joining the U and based on his production at Temple, many draft pundits projected Roche to be a late first/early second round selection this year. Upon his arrival, Roche made it clear he was not just trying to use the transfer season as a springboard for his NFL stock, and that, instead, he wanted to contribute by helping the team win and being a leader: “I’m going to do everything right on and off the field and I’m going to teach [the younger guys] as much as I can and still learn as much as I can.” Roche said on the Inside The NFL Prospects podcast, displaying a key leadership trait that NFL teams should revere.
Roche packed on 10 pounds prior to joining the Canes and delivered impressive performances against Pitt (7 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 0.5 Sacks) and Duke (6 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1.5 Sacks), both of which he earned ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week. Overall, Roche put up slightly less productive numbers on the season compared to his Temple stats as he tallied 45 tackles, 14.5 TFL, and 4.5 Sacks, which were sufficient enough to warrant an invite to the prestigious Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Despite lower production, Roche’s film indicates he shrewdly contributed to Miami’s overall front line that stymied opposing offenses and earned Roche a quality 82.0 PFF grade.
Highest career pass-rushing grade in the 2021 Draft class:— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 2, 2021
1. Quincy Roche, Miami FL - 93.0
2. Jordan Smith, UAB - 93.0
3. Christian Barmore, Bama - 92.2 pic.twitter.com/HckGskkecZ
In Roche’s social media declaration for the NFL Draft, he fittingly stated, “From being a 2 star recruit, I have always had a chip on my shoulder that has carried me through my career.” Roche is considered undersized relative to other EDGE prospects. However, the sentiment of being a former 2-star recruit rings true every time Roche steps on the field.
Roche has an intuitive first step and quick hands, but has also been able to improve at dropping into coverage according to Miami’s DC, Blake Baker. Roche echoed that sentiment in his post-Pro Day media session when he asserted he can line up everywhere and prides himself on his versatility (his pre-snap tape indicates he switches between putting his hand in the dirt and standing up).
According to PFF, however, he only lined up off ball on one snap last year. Roche did impress on the line of scrimmage when lined up against highly touted Alabama tackle prospect, Alex Leatherwood, with his lethal first step/swim move combination. That being said, he was shutdown by expected first round tackle, Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech).
Simply due to his size and questions of whether he can consistently out-power bigger blockers, evaluators may want to focus on Roche’s ability to play in space as an off-ball linebacker. If Roche switches to linebacker, it would be a similar transition to ProCane, Jonathan Garvin, who was almost exclusively utilized on the defensive line at the collegiate level. Garvin appears to have shifted to linebacker at the pro level, but played primarily in special teams this past year as a rookie.
Roche could anticipate plenty of reps on special teams his rookie season with his “do-everything” attitude, especially because he blocked three kicks during his time at Temple.
Besides his size, experts have said Roche is sometimes repetitive with his technique but he has a high football IQ and works well at the point of attack.
- Top Notch Production at Temple
- Technically Sound: Great Instincts and First Step
- High Football IQ/Ability to Mirror Blockers
- “Do Everything” Competitor Attitude
- Special Teams Plus
- Smaller Frame than Prototypical EDGE
- Drop in Productivity in 2020
- Will be 23 Years Old on Draft Night
- Does Not Wow in the Run Attack
Best NFL Fits: Steelers, Packers, Texans, Ravens, Bears
NFL Comparisons: Alex Highsmith, Chase Winovich
Quincy Roche: Most valuable edge defender in the 2021 draft class (per PFF WAR) pic.twitter.com/GxWes5F5Ny— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 10, 2021
Roche’s relatively smaller frame to other EDGE defenders makes him seem more suitable in a 3-4 defensive scheme as a standup front seven guy in the NFL. Roche is the type of team player any coach would want in their locker room and he could anticipate earning his way into a starting role after being featured on special teams.
Draft Night Projection: (2nd or 3rd Round)
2nd Round to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even though there are sensible synergies between Roche and the Carolina Panthers (HC Matt Rhule formerly coached Temple and was involved in Roche’s recruitment process), the Steelers run a 3-4 scheme and just last year they drafted Charlotte’s Alex Smith, who has a similar frame to Roche. Interestingly, Highsmith was often lined up on the defensive line in college and has since made the seamless transition to hybrid EDGE/LB defender, and even had an INT in coverage his rookie year. Highsmith was also utilized on special teams. Lock in Roche to the Steelers where he could thrive in Mike Tomlin’s defense for years to come.