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Steelers Bud Dupree Named AFC Defensive Player of the Week

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Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his dominating week 8 performance against the Colts.

In the Steelers 26-24 home win, Dupree filled the stat sheet with two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, three quarterback hits and three solo tackles.

Dupree is having his most productive year of his career in 2019. Through his first eight games, Dupree has racked up eight tackles for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles, and nine quarterback hits.

The Steelers management gave Dupree another chance by picking up his fifth-year option a year ago after his productive 2017 campaign. This year is the final year before Dupree will be looking for a new contract.

After having only 5.5 sacks all of last season, the talented but inconsistent linebacker is clearly playing for a new contract when free agency comes around. Being healthy for the first time in a few years has been beneficial to the energized play that Dupree has showcased during the first half of this 2019 season.

Dupree has done well causing havoc for opposing quarterbacks all season long and has also stepped up his tackling in the running game and that played a role in him being named AFC DPOY. His tackle on 3rd-down forced the Colts to attempt a field goal instead of running the clock down, a field goal that Vinatieri went on to miss.

Dupree and T.J. Watt have one of the best current outside linebacking tandems in the league and have been key in the Steelers getting back to .500 on the season–and will be even more important when it comes down to the team’s playoff push.

Steelers

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Projects Alabama C Landon Dickerson to Steelers in Latest Mock Draft

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ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. predicted that the Pittsburgh Steelers will select Alabama center Landon Dickerson in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft in his latest mock draft.

Kiper, who released his second mock draft of the season on Thursday, has the Steelers staying with the No. 24 overall pick in the first round to take Dickerson in a mock draft that has three trades in the first round.

The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Alabama grad could play center or guard, but would be immediately be slotted in as a replacement for retired starter Maurkice Pouncey at center.

Dickerson spent his first three seasons at Florida State before transferring to Alabama in 2019. He started four games at right guard and nine games at center in 2019 and started at center in 2020, where he was the winner of the Rimington Trophy as the country’s best center.

Dickerson suffered an ACL injury in the SEC Championship Game in December and concerns regarding that injury have depressed Dickerson’s draft value, but he is generally considered to be the best center in the class and no worse than a second-round pick.

NFL Draft Scout also recently projected Dickerson to the Steelers in a mock draft.

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Poll: What Was Biggest Issue with Steelers Running Game in 2020?

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The Steelers finished dead last in the NFL in rushing in 2020 and general manager Kevin Colbert has seen it as a top offseason priority to rectify that standing going into 2021.

The Steelers have already made a change in coaching, with Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm taking over as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.

There will also be substantive changes to the personnel, as starting center Maurkice Pouncey has retired and starting running back James Conner, left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, left guard Matt Feiler and right tackle Zach Banner are pending free agents.

“You can’t say the runners weren’t good enough or the quarterbacks weren’t good enough or the line wasn’t good enough,” Colbert said in speaking with the media last week. “To put out the kind of running game we did, no one was good enough. And again, that is a collective effort. … We need to finish (seasons). And I think having a strong running game helps teams finish in that time of year.”

With that being said, Steelers fans, which area of the running game do you think was the biggest issue in 2020?

What was the biggest issue with the Steelers 2020 running game?

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NFL Insider John Clayton: Steelers Out of Running for J.J. Watt

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One of the league’s most prominent insiders believes the Steelers are out of the running for free agent defensive end J.J. Watt.

Joining The PM Team on 93.7 The Fan on Wednesday, NFL insider John Clayton said Watt will not be joining his brothers T.J. and Derek in Pittsburgh.

Clayton sees the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills as the favorites to land Watt’s services.

For a potential dark horse, Clayton says the Las Vegas Raiders as an outside-the-box candidate to sign the veteran pass rusher.

Watt leaves Houston as one of the greatest players in franchise history. He was selected to five Pro Bowls, named First-Team All-Pro on five occasions and earned three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.

A future Hall of Famer, Watt is the Texans’ all-time leader in sacks (101), tackles-for-loss (172) and forced fumbles (25).

Watt recorded 52 total tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown in 2020.

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