Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rookie Dupree Making Impact in Shared Lb Role

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rookie Dupree Making Impact in Shared Lb Role

Article excerpt

Rookie outside linebacker Bud Dupree has yet to unseat starter Arthur Moats at right outside linebacker, and splits time with Moats every week. But halfway through the season Dupree is leading the Steelers' resurgent pass rush and is threatening the franchise record for sacks for a rookie.

Dupree leads the Steelers with four sacks and needs five more over the final eight games to tie Kendrell Bell for most in team history by a rookie.

After the Steelers struggled to get production from their top draft choices in recent years, Dupree is the most productive rookie pass rusher in the AFC and is tied with Eric Kendricks of the Minnesota Vikings and Hau'oli Kikaha of the New Orleans Saints, who also have four apiece.

"We knew he was a sharp young man when we interviewed him at Kentucky," defensive coordinator Keith Butler said. "Sometimes outside linebackers haven't played in this type of system. He had. They do a lot of things we do at Kentucky so it was a little bit of an easier transition for him than most people. That's the reason he was attractive to us."

In 2001, Bell set the rookie sack record with nine. But Bell was a starter and played almost every down. Dupree has done his damage in 339 snaps, or about half of the team's defensive snaps. Moats has played 307 snaps.

"I really don't care about that," Dupree said of the outside linebacker rotation. "I just go out and play. I know [starting] will come over time. I'm just worried about helping my team so that doesn't really matter."

Dupree has helped the Steelers return to their sack-happy days of the past. They are fifth in the NFL with 22 sacks and on pace for 44, which would be their most since they led the league with 48 in 2010. Last season, the Steelers only had 33 sacks.

Dupree has been doing his part and is starting his career at a much faster pace than recent high draft picks at outside linebacker. …

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