Quincy Roche was Steelers best pick from day three of the NFL Draft
By Tommy Jaggi
The Steelers made a few interesting decisions in rounds 4-7, but here’s why taking Miami edge defender Quincy Roche was their best move.
Based on some of Pittsburgh’s visits, I thought I had a pretty good idea of which players they would be targeting early on day three. After loading up on offense with all three of their picks on the first two days of the NFL Draft, it seemed that the Steelers were destined to address a few gaping holes on the defensive side of the ball.
While fixing the offense was clearly the primary goal this offseason, Pittsburgh lost two quality cornerbacks in Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton and did nothing when it comes to replacing them. In the same way, the Steelers lost two edge defenders in Bud Dupree and Ola Adeniyi, and their depth at outside linebacker was arguably the worst on the team, as Cassius Marsh would be forced to step in as the first player off the bench.
Because of this, I thought the Steelers would use one of their fourth-round picks to give them a quality rotational option, and Quincy Roche was a player I thought could have been drafted at this spot. However, Pittsburgh wouldn’t go on to select him for another two rounds.
Roche isn’t the biggest or most athletic edge rusher in the draft, but the man simply knows how to get after the quarterback. After being a thoroughly productive player at Temple for this first three years of college, Roche transferred to Miami where he earned 14.5 tackles for a loss in just 10 games. In all, Roche finished his college career with an eye-popping 54.0 tackles for a loss and 30.5 sacks.
To the surprise of many, the savvy pass rusher wasn’t taken early on day three. In fact, after Pittsburgh had already drafted three players on Saturday, Quincy Roche fell into their lap in the 6th round, and they couldn’t pass him up.
Why Roche is the Steelers best value pick from day three
I’m going to be quite honest: there were some picks early on day three that left me scratching my head. Pittsburgh kicked things off on Saturday by using their first 4th round pick on Texas A&M offensive tackle, Dan Moore Jr. – an athletic player who still needs a lot of refining. With a number of other developmental tackle prospects on the board, this seemed like a bit of a reach.
Just a handful of picks later, they took his teammate Buddy Johnson – a linebacker who many had slated as a 6th-round draft choice. Then they did something that really surprised fans. The Steelers traded a 4th round pick away from the 2022 NFL Draft in order to move back up into the 5th round and grab Wisconsin defensive lineman, Isaiahh Loudermilk. Loudermilk is a tall, but unathletic player who spent half of his collegiate career injured and he had next to no production over four years.
Fortunately, some of these questionable picks seemed to be salvaged by landing a quality pass rusher late in the NFL Draft in Quincy Roche. In most years, a 6th round pick is nowhere near a lock to make the team, but I would pencil Roche into the final roster right now. Because of the lack of depth on the team and his fit on Pittsburgh’s blitz-happy 3-4 defense, I thoroughly believe Roche could slide in as the team’s first edge defender off the bench from the gate.
Obviously, we need time to see how all of these picks will play out, and they did draft a few players with tremendous athletic upside. However, Roche just finds a way to win every game. Just like Alex Highsmith last year, I wouldn’t bet against him to have success in the NFL. He has worked his tail off to get to where he is right now, and he’s going to show Steelers fans why he was the best value pick they made.