The Pittsburgh Steelers defense the past couple of seasons has been in somewhat of a slump. Once a predominantly top ranked defense, a combination of age and inexperience began to take its toll.
Now, following the recent retirements of longtime Steelers Troy Polamalu ,Ike Taylor, Brett Keisel and the departure of defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau ,the Steelers begin a new chapter in Steelers defense.
New defensive coordinator Kieth Butler will now get his chance to bring the Steelers defense back to the top.
One of the first things Butler must address is bringing back the big play to the defense.
The Steelers defense in 2014 lacked big plays, most notably sacks and turnovers.
They only registered 33 total sacks on defense ranking 26th in the NFL in 2014. The Steelers also had a total of 11 interceptions ranking only 25th in the league.
They forced a total of 12 fumbles, that ranked 22nd in the NFL.
The Steelers defense must show significant improvement in all the above areas to have success in 2015.
GM Kevin Colbert and the Steelers took steps in the 2015 NFL draft to try to add defensive play makers to the defense starting with 1st round pick linebacker Bud Dupree.
Dupree started his last 38 career games at Kentucky totaling 23.5 sacks,248 total tackles,36 tackles for a loss and 4 forced fumbles during his 45 game career.
They also added three players to their secondary and all three have one major thing in common. They all excelled at intercepting the ball during their college careers.
2nd round pick cornerback Senquez Golson started 33-of-49 for Ole Miss registering 16 career interceptions,tops among NCAA active leaders and tied for third-most in school history. He had 10 interceptions in the 2014 season alone almost matching the Steelers total team interception output for 2014.
In round 4 the Steelers picked up cornerback Doran Grant out of Ohio St who collected 5 interception in 2014 and 9 in his college football career.
In round 7 the Steelers grabbed safety Gerod Holliman who had a whooping 14 interceptions in 2014 for the Louisville Cardinals setting a new NCAA record for interceptions in a season. He was the winner of the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award.
We don’t yet know much about what the Steelers defense and new coordinator Kieth Butler may bring to the table in 2015.
However ,one thing is certain,there has been a focus to bring the big play back and the Steelers 2015 defensive success depends on it.
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