The New Orleans Saints enjoyed one of the deepest defensive fronts in the National Football League during the 2019 season. Led by another standout campaign from star end Cam Jordan, the entire Saints defensive line dominated action during most contests. The Saints also had one of the league’s deepest rotations of talent at defensive tackle, allowing them to create disruption deep into games.
One reason for the depth along their front is because of the success the Saints have had in recent seasons at finding undrafted defensive talent. Tackles Shy Tuttle, Taylor Stallworth, and end Carl Granderson have all been able to contribute to the defense despite being overlooked in the draft.
Today’s rookie profile looks at another undrafted player who will try to follow that recent trend of success.
Malcolm Roach, DT (Texas) 6’2” 297-Lbs.
Roach was coached by his father Mike and was a standout defensive player at Madison Prep Academy in Baton Rouge, LA before taking his game to the University of Texas. He started some games at linebacker for the Longhorns as a true freshman, gathering 8 tackles for loss and 3 sacks among his 33 total tackles. Roach added 37 tackles (four for loss) and 2 sacks as a sophomore while alternating between linebacker and defensive end. He missed a portion of his junior year with a broken foot but still had 24 tackles. Moving full-time to defensive end last season, Roach had 3 sacks, 9 tackles for loss, and 40 total tackles.
NFL Scouting Combine Statistics
- 40-Yd dash = 4.84 (10th among defensive linemen)
- Vertical jump = 30”
- Broad jump = 114”
Roach showed a tendency to wear down during games. He has short arms and needs to disengage from blockers better to make plays. He doesn’t have great lateral movement along the line of scrimmage or change of direction once penetrating the opposing backfield. Along the outside, Roach doesn’t have great bend to beat blockers around the edge. He must play with better leverage inside to win battles along the interior.
Roach has impressive strength at the point of attack and a good pop at the snap to knock blockers off balance. He’s a mauler who can set a firm base and be difficult to move. Roach has nice initial quickness at the snap and the skills to get into the backfield quickly with a nice burst to the ball. A coachable player, Roach was a team captain at Texas and was willing to move around as his coaches needed.
Roach was often misused and played out of position at Texas. He projects better as a defensive tackle at the NFL level, where he'll join fellow Longhorns alum Malcom Brown on the Saints defensive line. He’ll have an uphill fight to crack the rotation of a deep New Orleans defensive line. Remember that Shy Tuttle, Taylor Stallworth, and Carl Granderson were all able to make plays for this defense despite not getting drafted, with Tuttle showing the potential of a star. Malcolm Roach will have the opportunity to make his own mark with a nice combination of strength and athleticism to be a potential disruptor.