Summary: Roche spent the last four seasons as one of the most consistent sack producers in college football. As a freshman for Temple, he recorded seven sacks, 31 tackles and three forced fumbles. His tackle total improved to 57 as a sophomore and he still picked up six sacks and two forced fumbles. Roche then got the attention of NFL scouts in 2019 with a 13-sack season that also included 49 tackles and a forced fumble. After the 2019 season, Roche transferred to Miami. The senior totaled 45 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass batted for his new team. He played better than the numbers indicate and formed a dangerous edge tandem with Jaelen Phillips for the Hurricanes.
The modern NFL is driven by the passing game, so teams are always on the look out for quarterback hunters who can neutralize elite passing attacks. Thus, a proven sack producer like Roche will have plenty of pro teams interested in selecting him in the mid-rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Roche really jumped out to team sources during the 2019 season. Evaluators really liked his initial explosion off the snap and how he closed on the quarterback. They felt he would only get stronger as he aged and developed, especially in a pro strength and conditioning program. There is no doubt that Roche has a fast first-step and is a threat to blow by offensive tackles to get sacks. He can turn the corner and eats up space with a serious burst. Roche is a dangerous speed rusher with natural feel to be a quarterback hunter.
Roche still needs to get stronger to hold up in the ground game at the next level. At his present size, Roche would be a liability as a run defender going against NFL offensive tackles.
As a pro, Roche would fit best in a 3-4 defense. He is a tweener for a 4-3, as he is too undersized to play base end and is not a sufficiently fluid athlete to play outside linebacker. If Roche is drafted into a 4-3, he should be a designated pass rusher who plays end in obvious passing situations. In a 3-4, he could be an excellent fit as an outside linebacker. Having a five-technique defensive end to help occupy offensive tackles would help to cover up Roche having problems getting off blocks.
A few issues are keeping teams from grading Roche in the early rounds in the 2021 NFL Draft, with lower-body stiffness being the most commonly cited. Source feel there is a lack of lower body strength and don't believe he consistenly plays hard. Roche could sneak into the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and he should not last long if he falls to Day 3.
Player Comparison: Chase Winovich. Winovich (6-3, 250) was an undersized speed rusher coming out of Michigan, and Roche is nearly identical in size and possesses serious speed off the edge. Winovich was a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and Roche could go around there in the 2021 NFL Draft.