“He’s struggling," Bell started. "He’s shaking a little bit, but he’s sticking in there, you know. As a rookie it’s hard to do that.”
Struggling in the cold tub, that is.
Bell’s take on the rookie’s on-the-field performance is very much the opposite.
“He’s got some things you really can’t coach in a player," Bell said. "When you have that natural ability, you just kind of touch him up a little bit and let him go.
When SCI pressed a little further, the Pittsburgh Steelers' MVP of 2014 revealed exactly why Dupree is a rookie with a future.
“His start off the ball, you know. He’s a great pass rusher. He does a great job of anticipating the snap, even when it’s on two or three. He just kind of keys the ball real well, and as soon as that ball snaps, he’s gone, and that’s something you can’t really coach. You either got it or you don’t."
And “getting it” is something Dupree said is one of his strengths. Take for example last night’s backs-on-backers drills, which Dupree said he’d never done before. But his performance in those drills was more than notable.
“Once I do things a couple of times, I can just catch on really quickly. So I just keep getting reps and working on getting better every day.” Dupree said.
Ryan Shazier remembers well the learning curve that is part of camp, and feels that Dupree is, indeed, catching on.
“Yeah, you see things on the field and you think 'Yeah, I did that, too.' But it’s his first year. He’s picking things up fast.”
One would think that being a rookie to watch might create more inner pressure, but Dupree says he stays on his game by thinking about anything except that once he leaves the field.
Dupree instead fills his mind with music (rap artists Peewee Longway and Gucci Mane are high on his list) and pretty much any movie he comes across. He also relies on talks with his family to keep him centered.
Dupree recognizes that each moment of an NFL career is precious, but he's giving every indication of a rookie who plans on making it through the camp, the season and beyond.
“I always want to think about long run and think about this as my career," he said. "I’ve been playing football my whole life, so I want to just keep grinding and make it."