Five Questions with... Dedrick Roper

Dedrick Roper was one of the pleasant surprises of training camp last year, making the Steelers practice squad as an outside linebacker out of tiny Northwood College. We sat down for five questions with Roper this year.

SCS: Do you feel more comfortable this year with everything they're asking you to do?

DR: Yeah, mentally I feel a lot more stable. The playbook was pretty tough on me last year. But now I've got a year under my belt watching Clark (Haggans), Joey (Porter) and James (Harrison). I feel my more confident now when I go out there.

SCS: Is it beneficial for a guy like yourself to spend a season on the practice squad?

DR: Definitely, especially coming from a defensive end to a linebacker position. The talent level took me a while to get adjusted to as well. I think it worked well. I'd have liked to have been playing, but in this scenario, the practice team was good for me.

SCS: But your expectations are even higher this year, are they not?

DR: Yeah. Definitely. I want to go out and show that I'm accountable and cut down on my mistakes. I feel like I'm stronger and I think I'm faster. I've set the bar pretty high for myself.

SCS: How'd you play in the first game?

DR: I wasn't real happy with it, but I'm going to learn from it. I've got to get the kinks out. I haven't really been that competitive in a year, so I felt a little rusty. I think that had a lot to do with it.

SCS: Is that the tough part about spending a season on the practice squad? You haven't really hit anybody live in a year, while the guys who are coming up as rookies played college ball.

DR: Yeah. That's a bit of a disadvantage for me but I'm working through that.

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