Mixed reviews for Shazier, Dupree
The Pittsburgh Steelers have made a clear attempt with their last two first-round picks – Ryan Shazier in 2014 and Bud Dupree in 2015 — to get more athletic at linebacker. Those players produced mixed results in Sunday’s preseason opener versus the Vikings, flashing potential with some strong play against the run but also displaying their limitations with some subpar play in the passing game.
Shazier was flying all over the field from the first snap, which led to four defensive stops (bettered only by Jordan Zumwalt on the Pittsburgh defense), but a missed tackle and a slip in coverage should temper too much excitement in his performance. The extremes of Shazier’s performance were on display midway through the first quarter, when he was beaten in coverage after slipping on one play, then followed it up with a fine run stop on fourth down on which he blew up the Vikings’ fullback in the hole.
Dupree entered the game early in the second quarter and produced a display reminiscent of his college performances. Stout against the run on the edge for the most part, Dupree was a non-factor on his 17 pass rushes. Though his play against the run gives cause for optimism on early downs, his inability to make a dent in the passing game against second- and third-string linemen was not the fast start Steelers fans hoped to see.