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Steelers OLB Bud Dupree named to's 2015 All-Rookie team

The Pittsburgh Steelers didn't get huge contributions from their 2015 draft class, but they did get a solid performance from their 1st round pick. His performance got him named to Gil Brandt of's All-Rookie team.

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Many criticize the Pittsburgh Steelers and their inability to draft "NFL-ready" players who can contribute their first season as a professional. When the team selected Bud Dupree in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, many were expecting a dynamic player who could rush the passer, even as a rookie.

In the first half of the season, Dupree did just that by tallying 4 sacks in his first 8 games, but hit the proverbial "rookie wall" down the stretch. Dupree didn't stop making plays, but wasn't getting to opposing quarterbacks like he was earlier in the season.

The University of Kentucky product finished his rookie regular season with 26 total tackles, 17 solo and 9 assisted, 4 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss and a pass defense. In the postseason Dupree's game elevated as he was able to contribute 6 tackles and two tackles for a loss in two games as he dominated in run support.

For all of these reasons, Gil Brandt of named Dupree to his All-Rookie team of 2015. See why Brandt saw Dupree as worthy of such an honor:

Outside linebacker: Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh Steelers
Draft position: Round 1, No. 22 overall.

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.

To be honest, Dupree was everything he was advertised as coming into the 2015 Draft. A physical specimen which was extremely raw in many aspects of playing the outside linebacker position at the NFL level. When realizing he met his first linebackers coach was when he reached the NFL shows just how raw the 22-year-old is, but also speaks to how he can improve.

The ceiling for Dupree is extremely high, and in his rookie season he didn't just see success from sacks and tackles, but also claimed the starting position at left outside linebacker. Dupree is worthy of this All-Rookie team honor, and fans of the black and gold should be excited about his potential moving forward.