The fact that linebacker Bud Dupree was able to play on his feet quite a bit while at Kentucky was one of the several things that attracted the Pittsburgh Steelers to him. In fact, the Steelers first-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft was asked to drop into coverage probably more than most of the outside linebacker prospects that were drafted last weekend.
“You know, I didn’t really look at it, but it would probably be a little bit higher percentage of him rushing,” said Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops via a media teleconference on Wednesday afternoon. “I’d say probably 60/40, I’m guessing. I’m guessing somewhere in that ballpark.”
Once Dupree gets up to speed and actually starts to see the field with the Steelers, he’s not likely to be asked to drop into coverage as much as he did at Kentucky. The fact that he has already done it quite a bit is encouraging, however, and Stoops said that his former linebacker had no problem transitioning from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker a few seasons ago.
“It’s very difficult for guys and especially the guys that played with their hand in the dirt their whole careers, as Bud did,” said Stoops. “But that’s why I say it was amazing to see him make that transition – and especially with us being so new in our transition defensively as well.
“So obviously not having the experience of going through all the nuances, the teaching and coaching points, I thought he picked it up exceptionally well and that’s why I just think he’s going to make such drastic improvement as he moves forward as well.”
Dupree and the rest of the Steelers rookies and one-year players will have their first practice on Friday when the team’s annual weekend rookie camp gets underway.