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Could Bud Dupree Be The Answer At OLB?

Whoa now Adam, hot take central with these articles! First saying the Steelers are going to beat the Patriots in week one, and now this? Someone had too much fun on Saturday!  All joking aside, were going to take a brief look at Bud Dupree’s performance, focusing on last year, and then I’m going to tell you why I think he could be the answer across from TJ Watt, who is already budding into an All-Pro level player.

Before we get into this, I do want to clarify, I am in no way a big fan of Bud Dupree.  I think picking up his 5th-year option at a whopping 9.23 million dollars, making him the 6th highest paid player on the team.  When you put it into perspective like that, it doesnt sound good.  But with that being said, I saw, and I think the Steelers saw also a somewhat significant jump in production from Bud Dupree last year.  If he can make a similar or better jump, well that 5th year option is looking like a good deal.

So lets start with the raw stats.  In 2018, Dupree set career highs with 42 tackles, 3 passes defended, 1 interception, and one touchdown.  He also record 5.5 sacks, 0.5 less than his 6 last year (career high).  The sole interception was returned for an interception in the Monday Night Football matchup against the Buccaneers.

 

The stat that really stood out to me above all others, and really the thing I always noticed with Dupree, was his career high 13 QB hits.  Now i tried to dive in deeper and find QB hurries but without paying PFF an exorbitant amount of money, those stats aren’t readily available to the public.  But if you go back and watch any Steelers game from last year, you will find Bud Dupree in the opponents backfield quite often.

Now his presence there was often a mixed bag of results.  Bud Dupree comes with a lot of speed off the line, which gives him some decent push against opposing left tackles.  On a lot of plays though, the tackle was able to drive him out and around him, where Dupree would either lose his edge, or be pushed 5 yards behind the quarterback, and outside of the pocket, either way rendering himself out of the play.  Despite this seemingly common trend, Dupree still found himself 3rd in pressure generated on the team and 42nd in the league.   If Dupree could work on developing a swim move, or potentially even put on some size for his 5th year in the league, he could find himself sacking the quarterback at an almost TJ Watt-like pace.

Now who’s to say Alvin “Bud” Dupree wont do exactly that?  I feel like a lot of Steelers fans have already been so quick to write off Bud Dupree as just another first round bust, the Jarvis Jones incarnate, Lamarr Woodley 2.0. Just as in real life as in football, you cannot let your past pain define you, because if you do, it will ruin your future”.  Bud Dupree is still a young man at only 26 years old. He has produced 4 or more sacks every year of his career.  Now those aren’t crazy numbers, but its consistent, with signs of growth.  In the video from Jeremy Fowler below, you’ll see Bud Dupree say hes nowhere near reaching the ceiling.  After the Steelers put their faith in him, and he now faces a put up or shut up  contract year, I think were gonna see the best Bud Dupree we’ve ever seen.

So I ended my last article with a hot-take, so why not make this a fun little tradition.  In 2019 Bud Dupree will develop into the other OLB the Steelers have been looking for since James Harrison.  Dupree will come in with 9.5 sacks, 1 INT, and 2 forced fumbles.  Theres really only one person who determines how well Bud Dupree will play next year, Bud Dupree.

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