The Pittsburgh Steelers have a way of progressing their players. They slow start them into the lineup as rookies, pump them up in the media as sophomores, and truly judge what they are by their third NFL season. It gives them a chance to give their picks an extension before that fourth season and for first round picks, it gives the Steelers an idea as to whether or not they should extend the new fifth year option.

With Bud Dupree, it was a more complicated decision than years past, but the team elected  to give him his fifth-year option. Colbert said the move was made with “no hesitation.”

While it could be hard from the outside to think that giving Bud Dupree a bit over $9 million in 2019, from the inside it could be an understandable, and smart decision.

Dupree has yet to ascend six sacks in his first three seasons. However, he has progressed from four to 4.5 to 6. There also is the injury factor. After a rookie season that went according to plan, a slow progress, his second year was completely derailed. Dupree missed the entire training camp period with a hernia and ended up being on the PUP all off-season. He tried to push through it to get on the field, but ended up needing a procedure to fully heal himself. That completely derailed the offseason but he emerged in the late part of the season to be the teams top pass rusher and increase his statistical contributions.

Entering year three, he unfortunately spent another season on the sideline during the late offseason portion with a shoulder injury. He has not played in the preseason since he was a rookie and this injury had him miss his second consecutive season opener.

Still, Dupree got back at it and improved on his sack total. No, he has not broken out yet. No, this is not the plan that the team had in mind when it comes to the progression of Bud Dupree. However, injuries happen. The Steelers, more than anyone should understand where he is physically, and they should know that if year four features a full offseason it will almost certainly feature another increase in sacks, if not a big increase.

Dupree joins Cameron Heyward, Ryan Shazier and David DeCastro as four of the first five first round draft picks to have their fifth year option picked up since the NFL CBA change. The Dallas Cowboys are currently the only other team to have picked up as many fifth-year options on first round picks.

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