This Steelers defense has a chance to be really good. I think it will be.
Last year, despite faltering in some late game situations, the Steelers defense ranked 6th in the league in yards against. They were middle of the pack in points against.
Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Javon Hargrave run to the ball so well for big men. Bud Dupree is an athletic freak, and T.J. Watt has a tenacious motor that never quits.
Now add Devin Bush, Mark Barron, and Steve Nelson. I think this defense can flat fly.
Based on those three acquisitions, I think the Steelers will have better numbers than last year. BUT, how can they go from "good" to "great?" The play of Bud Dupree.
Bud's career high in sacks is just six. If he produces like that again, the Steelers defense can still be good. They've led the league in sacks for two years running even without great production from their OLB.
If he can turn it up to 10 or more, then the Steelers defense can take a huge step forward. I'm less than optimistic about that, although he did have two sacks in Saturday's win against the Kansas City Chiefs.
With or without Bud Dupree, I'm betting the "D" is better this year than last. But if they want to truly be great, Bud Dupree needs to ball out in his contract year.