The Pittsburgh Steelers are wrapping up their first week of OTA practices on Thursday and while first-round draft pick, outside linebacker Bud Dupree, is likely still a long way away from taking a meaningful snap in a regular season game, it does sound like his transition to the NFL level, and more importantly the Steelers defense, is going as good as one can expect.
“He learns fast, man,” said fellow outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, according to Jacob Klinger of pennlive.com. “Just in the meeting room you can tell he’s picking things up. I mean, it’s Day 2, but he’s picking things up so it’s going well so far right now. I can speak only on what we have done.”
While Jones’ comments about Dupree should likely be taken with a grain a salt this early on in the offseason, they’re encouraging nonetheless. Even though Keith Butler has now taken over the defense from Dick LeBeau, the complexity of the scheme is likely still in tact, however, and Dupree’s ability to absorb and remember what is being installed over the course of the next several weeks will be evident when the team arrives at Latrobe for training camp. At that point we’ll really get to see just how much Dupree’s head is spinning and to expect that it won’t be to some degree would be foolish.
The fact that Dupree played on his feet quite a bit in his final two years at Kentucky should make his transition somewhat easier as it usually takes players who played most of their time in college with their hand on the ground more time to adjust to seeing the game from a different vantage point.
For now, however, we can remain cautiously optimistic that Dupree is moving along on the expected rookie course as he looks to eventually become the Steelers next premier edge rusher.