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Going defensive, Steelers rate high grade for draft

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Going defensive, Steelers rate high grade for draft

The Pittsburgh Steelers are losing a host of veterans on defense and that group didn’t perform particularly last season as it was. So what did you think they would do in the draft?

The Steelers took defensive players with six of their eight selections — two outside linebackers, two cornerbacks, one tackle, one safety.

It started in the first round, where Pittsburgh picked linebacker Bud Dupree from Kentucky. ESPN’s venerable draft maven, Mel Kiper Jr., liked this selection a good deal.

“Bud Dupree felt like a steal at No. 22 overall,” Kiper says (via SB Nation). “Given the off-field issues that affected the pass-rushing group, to have him available at that point was a surprise to me. I thought he could have gone as high as No. 8 overall.”

(If any Steelers draftee was a steal, wouldn’t it be their pick in the fifth round, Penn State tight end Jesse James? Yes, I should resist, but I just can’t.)

NFL Network commentator Mike Mayock says of Dupree, who’s 6 feet 4, 269 pounds: “He's explosive, big, strong and fits what Pittsburgh does defensively."

Overall, Kiper gives the Steelers’ draft an A- (only four other teams got A’s). Another player he particularly liked was their second-rounder, Mississippi cornerback Senquez Golson. The question with Golson, though, is his size; he’s about 5-9. Kiper, however, is undeterred.

“Golson is one of my favorite players in the draft, an INT machine at Ole Miss who plays bigger than his size and has the hands I wish more wide receivers had.”

Though concerned about Golson’s size, Mayock calls him “one of the best pure zone corners I've seen.”

RELATED: [Sorting out roles for Ravens 2015 draft class]

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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