Steelers: Third Times the Charm with Bud Dupree?


Now that we have had a weekend to assess the three day whirlwind that was the Steelers’ 2015 NFL draft, it’s time to evaluate how their first round selection played out.

Steelers’ Nation is split down the middle in terms of how the pick should have been utilized. On one side we have those who believe that only a first round cornerback would solve the problems of the team’s ailing defense.

On the other hand we have those who are ecstatic about the selection of Alvin “Bud” Dupree at 22nd overall, and already see him as a star on their beloved defense.

Whether you like the pick or not, one thing is certain: Dupree has a knack for finding the quarterback and causing turnovers. This is something Pittsburgh has had issues with in past seasons and have addressed this on more than one occasion.

The question more than likely being asked soon after the Steelers made the decision to select Dupree, was whether or not he would be a day one starter.

In an effort to bolster their linebacker corps that has lost a step over the years, the Steelers have selected linebackers in the first round for three years straight. Where it would have been ludicrous to believe a Steelers rookie would be a starter on their vaunted defense, it has happened multiple times as of late.

In 2014, first round selection Ryan Shazier started at interior linebacker after the departure of Larry Foote in free agency. He would start in week one, but two weeks later a knee injury would keep him off the field for nearly a month.A reoccurring knee injury would see Sean Spence and Vince Williams overshadow him.

A year earlier, Jarvis Jones was expected to immediately become a factor on the Steelers’ defensive line with James Harrison being released and playing for Cincinnati in 2013. He would struggle to adjust to the differences between the NFL and NCAA, and would eventually lose his starting role to Jason Worilds.

With that being said, should we temper our expectations of Dupree going into the 2015 season? We should, but only to a degree. He won’t come in and revolutionize the defense in his first year in the league, but his presence will certainly not be a mere whisper, either.

Kendrell Bell was the last Steelers linebacker to turn heads in his rookie year. His 9 sacks and 70 total tackles were enough to net him a Pro Bowl roster spot and AP Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, but that lone year would be the best in his entire career.

Repeated knee injuries would follow him for the remainder of his seven year stint in the NFL, and we were only left to wonder what could have been had he stayed healthy during his time as a Steeler.

Dupree has the ability to be the first Steelers’ rookie to win the same award in nearly fifteen years. Pittsburgh needs him to be the man they envisioned him to be when they committed to him on a first round draft pick. He can also silence critics who wanted a cornerback in his place, by having a fantastic season.

Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Bud Dupree (Kentucky) is selected as the number 22nd overall pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin has stated that Dupree “will start out at left outside linebacker”, which means he will be in contention with Arthur Moats for a starting spot when OTAs and the preseason come around.

Moats had a very impressive season for a linebacker that came to the Steelers on a veteran minimum contract last year. A season that earned him a contract extension for three more years. Moats makes for a excellent swing linebacker, but being a full time starter is not something that should be asked of him. While raw, Dupree has the ability to claim the starting spot.

Dupree has a lot riding on his career in the NFL. According to, he is the first linebacker from the University of Kentucky to be selected in the first round of the draft since their first year in participating 1937.

After years of attempting to land a blockbuster rookie linebacker, is the third time the charm for the Pittsburgh Steelers? We will watch with anticipation as this young man begins to flourish into a threat for offenses across the NFL, in what should be the start of many exciting seasons with the black and gold.

Next: Steelers Morning Huddle

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