The Steelers have lost a lot of high-end talent this offseason which means Mike Tomlin needs these five players to really step up in 2019.
Mike Tomlin insists that his team can experience addition by subtraction after offloading Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell this offseason. If that’s actually going to happen, the Steelers will need a host of their current players to have big seasons.
This piece will examine the five Pittsburgh stars that need to step up the most. Quite a few veterans need to have career seasons if the Steelers are going to make a deep postseason run. Some young players who have been selected with high draft picks in recent years also need to emerge as key playmakers for the team. The list starts with an oft-overlooked edge rusher who needs to give the Steelers defense a little more juice.
5. Bud Dupree
T.J. Watt managed to give the Steelers 13 sacks from his outside linebacker spot last season while Bud Dupree only came up with 5.5. It’s fair to point out that Watt gets more opportunities to rush the passer because it’s his strong suit, but there still shouldn’t be such a large disparity between two guys who line up in the same spot.
The Steelers don’t need Dupree to suddenly turn into Von Miller, but they do need him to be more of a playmaker on the outside. Ideally, he could at least flirt with notching double-digit sacks. It would also be nice to see him produce some turnovers for his team. He was only responsible for one forced fumble last season.
Pittsburgh doesn’t need Pro Bowl-level production from Dupree, but he needs to take some of the heat off of Watt on a week-to-week basis. Outside linebackers in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense need to wreak havoc on the opposition. Dupree hasn’t flashed nearly enough during his career. 2019 needs to be a big year for the athletic edge player.