6 late round Steelers who will make an impact in the 2021 season

Shakur Brown #29 of the Michigan State Spartans (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Shakur Brown #29 of the Michigan State Spartans (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Quincy Roche (48). Mandatory Credit: Karl Roster/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports /

Quincy Roche

It is rare for a sixth-round pick to be considered a roster lock so early into the offseason, and it is almost unheard of that a sixth-round pick is set to take on a key role on defense. Yet that is exactly what has happened to Quincy Roche since the Steelers selected him. With little competition on the roster, he seems like a safe bet to make the opening roster. With Cassius Marsh being the only other realistic roster option right now, there is a chance that Roche is serving as the top backup at edge rusher.

Some may argue that isn’t an overly important position, but they would be wrong. While T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith are the clear-cut starters, Highsmith is relatively unproven, and injuries are always in play for either starter. Throw in the fact that the Steelers like to rotate their starters out to help preserve them, and suddenly a player like Roche could see in the upwards of 30 percent of the defensive snaps (a number Anthony Chickillo used to see as the third outside linebacker).

That kind of a snap count for a sixth-round rookie isn’t anything to ignore. If Roche struggles it will certainly reflect on the defense as they will be more likely to struggle with him on the field. Unless a capable veteran is signed, Roche is slated to see significant playing time as a late-round rookie. If an injury occurs here (something that isn’t uncommon), Roche could be in line to see the most snaps out of everyone on this list.