Ranking every Steelers first-round draft pick of the Mike Tomlin era

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90)
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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7. Bud Dupree, 2015 first-round pick

We are now officially out of the poor picks (or poor picks so far in the case of Harris and Pickett) and into the fine selections. While Bud Dupree isn’t a superstar, he became a very good pass rusher for the Steelers before departing for Tennessee. His story may also not be done, as there seems to be a good chance he returns to the team.

Dupree was a force at Kentucky, utilizing his size, strength, and speed to rack up pressures and sacks. Unfortunately, due to his athletic talent, he never developed great technique and was seen as a raw player coming out of school despite being a senior in school. He surprisingly fell to Pittsburgh's pick in the 2015 draft.

He had a slow start to his career, as injuries and inconsistent play limited Dupree. As time went on, his technique improved and meshed well with his athleticism. He also had the benefit of playing across another name on this list, which certainly helped his case.

His play got so good that he ended up earning the franchise tag before departing in free agency. While Dupree never took the steps needed to be elite, he turned into a great starter and a consistent presence off the edge. He turned into a quality starter, and his story may not be done with the team yet.