Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Bud Dupree (Kentucky) poses for a photo after being 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
There was no doubt the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to draft a defensive player with their first pick in the 2015 draft and many expected the secondary to be bolstered.
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But with the Minnesota Vikings selecting Trae Waynes at number 11 overall, and then five picks later Houston drafting Kevin Johnson, two of the players Pittsburgh had targeted for help at cornerback were gone. With Marcus Peters still on the board, he too fell out of Pittsburgh’s grasp when the Kansas City Chiefs snatched him up at number 18.
When the Steelers reached the clock at pick #22, they saw one of their targets still available and with their pick chose Bud Dupree, outside linebacker from the University of Kentucky.
There will be some in Steelers Nation who might be scratching their heads at this pick, but with Jason Worilds retired and Jarvis Jones still unproven, another outstanding athlete at linebacker is not a bad choice.
Ryan Shazier had an injury filled rookie year in 2014, and with Dupree, the Steelers get a player who brings some speed on a big body. Dupree is 6’4” and 269 pounds, much bigger than his predecessor as the Steelers #1 pick last year, Shazier.
Dupree was Kentucky’s captain last season and finished with 7 ½ sacks on the year and 23 ½ for his career. That marks the most by any active player in the SEC. In 2014 he made 74 tackles, 12 ½ of those for a loss.
Said draft expert Mike Maylock about Pittsburgh’s first round pick: “Dupree is a big, strong, fast, freakish athlete. He’s a height-weight-speed guy. The one thing I don’t like is a lack of consistency. He’s explosive, big, strong and fits what Pittsburgh does defensively.”
“Dupree is a big, strong, fast, freakish athlete. He’s a height-weight-speed guy. The one thing I don’t like is a lack of consistency. He’s explosive, big, strong and fits what Pittsburgh does defensively.” Mike Maylock
The word on Bud Dupree is he is an exceptional athlete. Having posted a 42” vertical leap and turning in a 4.56 40 at the NFL combines this year turning heads. He shows excellent strength and has a reputation of blasting out tight ends. Dupree has a knack for getting to the quarterback while also being strong against the run.
The downside from scouts on Dupree is he might be lacking sufficient instincts needed to excel at the pro level. But given the quality of the coaching staff in Pittsburgh and the talented players he will share a locker room with, Steelers fans should be confident that he will grow into another great Steelers linebacker.
An interesting fact about Pittsburgh’s latest #1 is he played on his high school basketball team that won a state championship. For the Steelers, a solid defensive player no matter the position can never be a bad addition.