Tired, rookie legs. It’s a common experience for most guys in their first year. To combat that heading into Year Two, Bud Dupree and Jesse James told reporters today they’ve dropped about 20 pounds during the offseason. Dupree is down to 254. The AP’s Will Graves and the Trib’s Mark Kaboly first reported the news.
Dupree weighed in at 269 pounds during the 2015 Combine. He admitted he hit the rookie wall late in the year, and the extra weight clearly didn’t help. 254 is where Anthony Chickillo dropped too last year so perhaps the 255 range is a benchmark the team looks for.
After a hot start on the box score, four sacks in the first eight weeks, Dupree was held without one for the second half of the season. He did play well for a rookie and jumped Arthur Moats in the depth chart, though they still rotated series.
As we’ve said throughout the offseason, there may not be a player who needs to step up more than Dupree does for this defense. The Steelers’ outside linebackers recorded just 15 sacks last season and many of them came from scheme or blown protections freeing them up. James Harrison, Jarvis Jones, and Moats are unlikely to see huge spikes in production. If Dupree can even sniff ten sacks, this defense will be much better off.
James weighed in at 261 during the draft cycle. Figuring he added weight during the year, getting somewhere close to 270, and you can surmise he’s in the low 250 range as well. He does have a lankier 6’7 frame though it’s important to realize he could’ve shed “bad weight” and kept, or added, muscle. Being heavy does nothing if you’re not in shape. James will see a big increase in snaps and actually play a full 16 game season in 2016, something he’s never done before, so being in the best shape of your life is imperative.
He is slated to be the #2 tight end but with Ladarius Green’s ankle injury, could see starter’s snaps for at least a portion of camp.