Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree ended his rookie season as the starter on the left side of the team’s defense and he registered 26 total tackles, 4 sacks and 6 quarterback hits.
Earlier this week, NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt named Dupree to his 2015 All-Rookie team due to his play.
Brandt wrote of Durpree’s selection:
All four of Dupree’s sacks came in the first half of the season, with his first two coming in Weeks 1 and 2. While the sack production leveled off, Dupree showed he’s a big, athletic guy whose speed and quickness make him hard to block.
After the season ended in Denver a few weeks ago, Dupree recapped his rookie season in an interview with steelers.com.
“I think I could have done way better, just by a couple of plays I missed,” said Dupree. “If I would have been not thinking so much at the beginning it would have helped. I wish I could have gotten more comfortable earlier than I did. Now I feel like I am comfortable and I am looking forward to next year.”
While Dupree’s play in 2015 was certainly uneven, at least he was able to log quite a bit of playing time. Including the playoffs, the Steelers first-round draft pick out of Kentucky played a total of 563 defensive snaps. As far as the Steelers outside linebacker group goes, only veteran James Harrison played more snaps. With Dupree’s rookie season now behind him, head coach Mike Tomlin expects bigger things out of his young linebacker next season.
“There were some things to build on,” said Tomlin of Dupree during his end of the year press conference. “There are some things that he could have done better. I’m excited about watching him put together a foundation for a sophomore campaign.”
Dupree will undoubtedly be the Steelers starter on the left side in 2016 and the hope is that he can provide the team’s defense a whole lot more as a pass rusher. The Steelers outside linebackers recorded a total of 15 regular season sacks in 2015 and that number needs to increase quite a bit next season with Dupree hopefully being able to hit the double-digit mark in that statistical category.