Miami has a trio of edge-rushing prospects who could be selected in the first two days of the 2021 NFL Draft. Two of those players, Gregory Rousseau and Jaelan Phillips, have the athletic traits that make scouts drool and convince general managers to bet on their untapped potential.
The third, Quincy Roche, is different. He is 6-foot-3, 240 pounds. He is a little smaller than Rousseau or Phillips. Maybe not quite the explosive, drool-inducing athlete. He is one of those players you really have to watch. Because the more you watch, the more you see. And, the more you like.
I watched five of Roche’s games — three with Miami in 2020 and two while he was still with the Temple Owls in 2019. Here’s the first note in my file on Roche:
“Kept growing on me the more I watched him.”
The more you watch, the more you see Roche win ... and win ... and win some more against left tackles. Even when you don’t think he should. In 2020, Roche lined up against opposing left tackles. Phillips was on the opposite side abusing right tackles, while Rousseau had opted out of the season.
In his profile of Roche, Chris Pflum wrote that Roche “plays with good technique, using his hands to keep himself clean and set up counter moves to defeat blockers. He also has enough power to match up with NFL-caliber linemen in run defense.”
Chris also wrote that “Roche doesn’t have the elite measurables and athleticism shared by the NFL’s great pass rushers, but he should be a good, consistent edge defender from the start of his career.”
Pro Football Focus isn’t as high on Roche as we appear to be here at Big Blue View. PFF considers Roche a fourth-round talent and compares him to Oshane Ximines of the Giants. In it’s draft guide, PFF writes:
“With 104 pressures between Temple and Miami, there’s been no more productive pass rusher in college football over the past two seasons than Roche. There will be no question marks concerning what he’s done on the football field, but there are major ones for how that will translate to the NFL. Look no further than his matchup with Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw — a likely first-rounder — to see why. Roche doesn’t have any of the physical tools (i.e., size, length, explosiveness) to make his life easier against quality tackles. He doesn’t threaten with power, so tackles can wait him out and clamp down.”
Here are a couple of clips of Roche during Senior Bowl week:
SENIOR BOWL PERFORMANCES— College Football Rankings ™ (@CFBRanking) January 29, 2021
Miami Fl DE Quincy Roche
Blows past the Outland Trophy winner multiple times. pic.twitter.com/dVN8xDA2DW
LOOK AT QUINCY ROCHE TAKING THE RIGHT TACKLE FOR A RIDE INTO THE QB! #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/QtLyXZuxvI— Inside The Draft (@Jacobkeppen) January 28, 2021
I spoke this week to Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy for a ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast that I am expecting to air Monday, Feb. 15.
After watching Roche in person for a week, Nagy said he is “better than I thought he was.”
“He’s not a wow you athlete, although I will say this — during our week seeing him live he is twitchier and a little more slippery and bendier than I thought he was,” Nagy said.
“He’s just a really hard block. He makes people work when they block him .. he knows how to set guys up, he knows how to rush. That’s why I think he’s got a chance to contribute immediately at the next level on third downs and in sub situations.”
Nagy thinks Roche is a Day 2 pick, and a good value wherever he lands.
“He’s somewhere on Day 2,” Nagy said. “He’s probably going to be a better player and outperform wherever he gets picked. That’s the kind of player he is. He’s just producer.”