Why Steelers Bud Dupree should be top priority despite tight cap space
“We didn’t expect Bud [Dupree] to be there at twenty-two, that was a very easy selection,” Pittsburgh Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said shortly after drafting the Kentucky product back in the 2015 NFL draft.
A player who had the perfect blend of height, weight, and speed from the outside linebacker position, Dupree was supposed to be the next great Steelers linebacker.
However, that aspiration took a quick halt, as Dupree was instead penciled in as the team’s backup, playing behind veteran OLB Arthur Moats. Moats signed a three-year deal worth up to $7.5 million to stay in Pittsburgh. He was solely retained to provide depth, but with Dupree having rookie mental lapses during training camp, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin decided to go with the safer bet to kick-off the 2015 season.
The move was short-lived. After 11 games, Dupree finally got the first-team reps in the last five games of his rookie season. And although the first-round pick did not rack up any sacks in that span, it was a learning process for him, heading into year two, as the unquestioned starter.
Unfortunately, that didn’t go as planned either. Instead, Dupree was hit with the injury bug to jump-start his second year, suffering a groin injury that would sideline him for the first eight weeks of the season after being placed on injured reserve.