Good news, Steelers Nation. After being subjected to a mind numbing amount of mock drafts and plenty of unsubstantiated speculation during what seemed like an inordinately long pre-draft process, minus the Scouting Combine to break up the monotony, the 2021 NFL Draft is finally upon us. I have been given the distinguished task of trying to apply a letter grade to each Steelers selection.
There are specific criteria necessary when attempting to accurately and fairly grade any draft pick. Only time will reveal the validity of any grade given, but I will utilize certain parameters as I attempt to apply an initial grade for each Steelers draft pick. I base each grade on projected roster fit, potential immediate impact, and assumed draft value. Draft value is achieved by evaluating each players actual selection against their projected draft position, whether that be player rankings or projected round.
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Miami Edge Quincy Roche with the 216th selection of the 2021 NFL Draft. This was another huge shocker for yours truly, but for a totally different reason. I couldn't believe that Roche was still on the board at that point of the sixth round. I thought he could have been gone by the fourth round, and would represent exceptional value in the fifth. If the young man flourishes on the edge in the Steelers 3-4 defense as I expect he will, then he may one day be remembered as a draft day steal.
Based on the Steelers need for depth on the edge, his reputation as a skilled pass rusher, and his projected draft value; I give the Steelers selection of Quincy Roche a initial draft grade of B, though I was tempted to go higher.
Roche was a dominant defender for his three seasons playing for the Temple Owls, before transferring to Miami for his final season. Although he wasn't quite as dominant after the step up in talent, he solidified the fact he was a NFL prospect. Roche stands 6'2" and weighs 243 lbs. He has played the majority of his collegiate career with his hand in the dirt, but will be asked to stand up in the Steelers 3-4. He surprised plenty of scouts at his pro day by running a 4.62 forty with a 32" vertical . He also posted 23 reps on the bench press.
Many scouts looked at him as a highly disruptive overachiever, getting every once of production out of his limited athleticism through superior effort and being football savvy. Even though I definitely wouldn't consider that assessment an insult, he showed that he has better speed, strength, and quickness than he was being given credit for. He has been a very productive defender during his time at both Temple and Miami. He has shown a tendency for making impact plays with multiple tackles for a loss and forced fumbles on many of his sacks. He even recovers an inordinate number of fumbles, including ones resulting from his strip sacks. He has definitely displayed a nose for the football.
Some evaluations suggested that Roche is not a quick twitch athlete with the flexibility to naturally bend around the edge on his pass rush, but his Miami coaches disagreed with those assessments. They spoke highly of his football IQ and instincts, and lauded his tendency to make game changing plays. Apparently plenty of teams agreed with some of the negative evaluations, but all it takes is for one team to recognize the potential.
The Steelers claimed they had a late third to fourth round grade on Roche, and they were shocked he was still available in the sixth. The young man should be in an ideal position to enjoy NFL success, with a Steelers franchise who have excelled in identifying and developing linebacker talent. He will not be asked to do too much immediately, mainly to spell T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith for a series or two each game. He will be expected to utilize his athleticism and aggression on the coverage teams. Based on the lack of edge depth currently on the roster l like his chances of making the final roster to start the season.
Now we want to hear from the BTSC community and from Steelers Nation. What do you think about the selection and what initial grade would you give it. Please place your vote in the attached poll and share your reasoning in the comment section below.
I am pleased to welcome Quincy Roche to the Steelers family on behalf of the BTSC staff and community. Go Steelers!
What initial draft grade would you give this Steelers selection?
This poll is closed
A = Excellent selection
B = Above average selection
C = Solid selection
D = Below average selection
F = Terrible selection