After one season with the Canes by way of Temple vis-a-vis the NCAA Transfer Portal, Quincy Roche was drafted as the 216th pick (6th Round) in the 2021 NFL Draft and will have an opportunity to carve out a role with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Thursday night, Roche witnessed his teammates, Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau, drafted in the first round as they continue the great defensive line legacy at Miami as the program has had the most first round defensive linemen first round defensive linemen drafted in NFL history.
Once labeled a two-star recruit, Roche has always played with a chip on his shoulder. This has been no different lately as there have been questions about his size during the draft process and had to wait until late in day three to be picked despite garnering the best PFF pass rush grade (93.0) among draft prospects. The “do everything” competitor will have an opportunity to contribute right away at the next level after a productive career that consisted of 182 tackles, 54 tackles for loss, 30.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, and 8 passes deflected. He also finished with the highest career pass-rushing grade in the 2021 NFL Draft class as he aims to have the same impact on Sundays.
No worries...in God I trust!— Q. (@_Underated2) April 30, 2021
At the next level, Roche could be an immediate contributor on special teams as he had three blocked kicks during his collegiate career and is willing to do the dirty work. Eventually, Roche’s work hard attitude will lead to carving out a role either on the line of scrimmage in pass rush situations or assisting in coverage situations should he further improve in that category.
In my Roche Draft Preview, earlier this week, I predicted Roche to the Steelers - albeit four round earlier. Namely, 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. Roche could thrive in Mike Tomlin’s defense for years to come.
Jose Borregales remains on the board for the Canes with roughly 40 selections remaining. Only one kicker has been taken so far (Evan McPherson, Florida).