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Bud Dupree Looks to Have Breakout Season in 2017

Bud Dupree Brook Ward via flickr

Bud Dupree is a Key Piece to Young Steelers Defense

Linebacker Bud Dupree of the Pittsburgh Steelers is looking to become a rising star in the league. Dupree was drafted out of Kentucky with the 22nd overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. Coming into that draft, Dupree was listed by many experts as a top 15 draft prospect, so he was a steal for the Steelers. Dupree was a key contributor right away in his rookie season. As a rookie, Dupree started seven times, playing in every game for Pittsburgh. In his first season, Dupree accounted for 26 tackles and four sacks.

Unfortunately, Dupree was hit with a groin injury shortly after his rookie season. As a result, Dupree missed the first ten weeks of the 2016 regular season. In the seven games that Dupree was able to play in, he started four times and finished with 24 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He proved to be a key factor in the Steelers’ playoff run as he accounted for 15 tackles and 0.5 sacks in their three playoff games.

Now is the Time for Bud Dupree to Step Up

The play of Bud Dupree is very crucial to the success of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense. In the history of the Steelers’ franchise, especially in recent years, they have been led by great outside linebackers. Some of these names include the likes of Joey Porter (now Steelers linebacker coach), LaMarr Woodley, and James Harrison. With James Harrison coming closer to retirement, it is time for Dupree to take the reins.

It is also important to note that the Steelers must have a great pass rush. This is due to the fact that the Steelers have a very inconsistent secondary at this point with very little experience. If Dupree can get pressure on opposing quarterbacks, it will take the pressure off of the young Pittsburgh secondary.

2017 Predictions

I look for 2017 to be a breakout year for Bud Dupree. With Harrison getting older and Jarvis Jones leaving for Arizona, Dupree will be the unquestionable starter and top outside linebacker for the Steelers. I believe that Harrison will start off the season as the starter opposite of Dupree. However, I think that Dupree and 2017 draft pick TJ Watt will eventually be the starting duo for the Steelers at some point this season or early next season. If Dupree can stay healthy, I strongly believe that we will see a huge increase in his numbers. With these increased numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Pro Bowl invitation sent Dupree’s way in 2017. Although the Pro Bowl would be great, the even bigger prize would be for Dupree to lead the Steelers to their seventh Super Bowl win. I believe that it’s safe to say that would be a huge possibility in 2017.

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