General Manager Kevin Colbert:
We're really excited. The other day during the press conference we talked about the outside linebacker position being very deep with several impact players. We believe we got an impact player in Bud Dupree. Bud is big. He's 6-foot-4 and floats around 270. He ran a 4.61. He's very athletic and very strong. He played in a defense similar to ours. He stood up very strong against the run. He's certainly a good pass rusher. He's a good mix of power and speed. He can cover. It's really exciting that he was able to be there for us at 22. Quite honestly that was something we didn't expect to happen.
Head Coach Mike Tomlin:
I don't have a lot to add. I think versatility is something that should be highlighted. He's done a lot for that defense over the course of the last four years. He's been an edge rusher. He's played in space. He's played stack linebacker. This is a very versatile and smart athlete. We had an opportunity to take him to dinner the night before his pro day. There was good conversation with him. You could characterize him as a football junkie or football historian. That's attractive as well. We're excited to have him.
Did you prefer him over a cornerback?
KC: Absolutely. Again, we didn't expect Dupree to be there at 22. That was a very easy selection. As we say all the time, we're never going to lock ourselves into any position. We want good football players. Bud Dupree certainly fits that category.
What Steelers of the past did Dupree talk about?
MT: He had a lot of questions about James Harrison, not only the player, but also the professional. He asked a lot about his workout regimen and things of that nature. He asked good questions for a young man.
Is he a strong side or weak side linebacker?
MT: We'll start him out on the left, but he's played on both sides of the football for Kentucky. He's played on the end of the line. He's played in space. We'll start him out at left outside linebacker.
View photos of Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 1st Round Draft Pick, linebacker Bud Dupree.
Re: Direction for rounds two and three:**
KC: There's a lot left to happen here. We'll watch who else gets picked and see what's left for us at the end of the night. We'll reposition based on what we did and who's available. There are plenty of good players left.
Is there any comparison to Lamar Woodley?
MT: No. Lamar was a converted defensive lineman in college. Bud has played on his feet and played detached from the core. He showed a much wider variety of skill set on his college tape. You can find some comparisons in terms of measurables or weight. It really kind of ends there.
Who could you compare Dupree to?
MT: He's really a unique animal. He's 6-foot-4, 269 pounds. He's capable of playing in space. He's capable of rushing off the edge. He's his own man. We have plenty of time to make comparisons I'd imagine.
Did you consider going to get him when he was there later in the first round?
KC: Yeah, as the numbers come together he was certainly the highest player left on our board. But we had some other options. We looked into maybe trading up, but as he kept coming to us, the odds of getting a player we wanted increased and we just waited it out. So often that happens that a lot of times you just wait it out and there'll be a good player there for you. We really feel fortunate that this was one of those situations.
Who called him and what was the conversation like?
MT: I did. It was what you would expect. We felt very comfortable with him as we got to know him throughout the process, and I think he would say the same thing. We laughed a little bit. Obviously it was an exciting time for him and his family.
Were you impressed with him as a run stopper?**
KC: He is very, very strong at the point (of attack). That's why, really, when you watch him work out as we did at his pro day, you had to keep reminding yourself that this guy is 6-foot-4 and 269 (pounds). He doesn't look that big until you get up close to him, and you figure this guy is a big guy. He can surely play the point. He can power rush. He can speed rush. He can put moves together. He can rush off of two feet or out of a three-point (stance). And he can cover. So really this is a gift for us to be able to get this guy at (pick) twenty-two.
Is it a no-brainer that he is a day one starter?
MT: We're not in that business. He will be given an opportunity.
Does he have any character concerns?
KC: No. I think when you guys meet him you'll find (him) very humble. He's not a really talkative guy. He's finishing school this semester. He'll graduate in four years. He was talked about as a team leader. (When) you go to the University of Kentucky, (he's) on the stadium. Those big poster pictures, he's the guy along with Za'Darius Smith that they highlight. When we we're there for the pro day it was just endless support and praise for this kid. So they really believe that he was their leader. They didn't have quite the season that they had hoped for, but everybody spoke about this kid in glowing terms.
How were you able to have dinner with him the night before his pro day?**
MT: It was he and one of his defensive teammates, but that's standard operation for us. When we go to pro days we usually will visit with a prospect or two informally the night before.
Was this pick similar to getting Ryan Shazier later in the draft last year?
KC: Yeah it did. There are some similarities. Of course he had to fall further than Ryan did. I can't say it enough, that we didn't think this would happen at the beginning of the day. We were certainly prepared for him to not be there. I can say that now because it's safe [smiles]. It's a tiered system and the agent won't take advantage of it. It's similar to Ryan but Bud had to go a little bit further. He may be disappointed where he got picked in the spot that he got picked. But I think he'll be happy when he's with us just as we are happy to have him.
Re: Projecting him to the Steelers' system:
MT: We've had an opportunity to watch him do a lot of things because of how multiple their defense is. So it's not a lot of projection there. Anything that you might want to ask a guy like him to do, you get an opportunity to see him do on Kentucky tape, and there is comfort in that.