Isaac Rochell is currently one of six former Notre Dame players on the roster, all of whom happen to be on the defensive side of the ball. He’s also the first Golden Domer to be featured in our 90-in-90 series this year.
Rochell’s path to the NFL started as a prep in his hometown of McDonough, Georgia. He attended the private school powerhouse Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy where he led his team to a 12-1 record and a 2012 state championship. He earned First-Team All-State honors and was ranked as the 139th player in the ESPN 300. I could not find his stats from that year, but as a junior, Rochell totaled 97 tackles, 24 tackles-for-loss, and seven sacks.
He chose to play collegiately at Notre Dame where he became a three-year starter after playing sparingly as a true freshman. In 13 starts in 2014, Rochell finished with 39 tackles, 7.5 for loss, a career-best 2.5 sacks, four pass deflections, a fumble recovery, and a blocked field goal.
Across his final two seasons, Rochell totaled 115 tackles, 13.5 tackles-for-loss, a pair of sacks, and three pass deflections. Due to a weak finish as a senior, Rochell saw his draft stock fall and he wound-up being selected with the 225th pick in the seventh round by the Chargers.
Rochell was initially waived as a rookie on September 17 of 2017 but landed back on the practice squad. On December 12 of that year, he was promoted to the active roster and has been there ever since.
Prior to the 2018 season, Rochell switched to a more plant-based diet where he reshaped his body, going from ~290 pounds to 270.
In three seasons with the Chargers, Rochell has amassed 45 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, seven sacks, one interception, and two pass deflections.
College: Notre Dame
Years with team: 3
“Isaac Rochell signed a 1 year, $825,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $825,000. In 2020, Rochell will earn a base salary of $825,000, while carrying a cap hit of $825,000.” - Spotrac.com
Rochell has been one of Telesco’s best late-round picks during his tenure as general manager. He’s been a consistent contributor when given the opportunity which was shown in 2018 as he collected a career-high five sacks in place of Joey Bosa. While he hasn’t made a ton of “splash” plays, Rochell is consistent enough to get his job done while limiting mistakes and not setting the team back. He plays the run extremely well, even after losing the weight he did before the 2018 campaign.
He’s still firmly entrenched as the back-up to Bosa at the base defensive end spot and can even kick inside to the interior on obvious passing situations.
As mentioned before, he’s consistent, which goes a long way in the NFL. He did have a career year in 2018 but most forget that he actually was replaced by Damion Square at defensive end when there was almost zero pass rush without Bosa to start the season. In the first five games that year, Derwin James had all of his 3.5 sacks and then no more through the final 11 contests. Gus Bradley was forced to find a pass rush somewhere else due to Rochell’s inability to get it done.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?
He’s a surefire lock to make the roster as a key depth piece on the defense. There pretty much zero chance of him not being on the roster in 2020.
Fun Fact: Rochell has started his own movement called #SeeYouOnSaturday where he urges fans to step away from their phones one day a week in order to “go enjoy life”.