The biggest question facing Kentucky defensive end/outside linebacker Alvin "Bud" Dupree is which position he'll best play at the NFL level.
And it's a tough one to answer.
He's unique in the sense it's almost harder to get a read on him watching him on a per-play basis. Some games, he thoroughly dominated as a hand-on-the-ground pass rusher, and others, he seemed to play better standing up.
It seems to come down to his instincts. Based on his film, and without knowing his assignment, it seems he's asked to watch for less and have a more narrowly focused task when he's in a three-point stance. He's asked to do more, and he doesn't recognize what's happening in front of him as quickly when he's standing up.
One thing is obvious, Dupree is an excellent athlete, and his ceiling will be reached not in his rookie season, but down the line with the right coaches, he could be a strong three-down player.
This isn't to suggest his level of play matches this clip, but a general theme seems to be one of less explosion when he's standing up, as opposed to when he's coming out of a three-point stance. That seems obvious - players coming out of a stance have to fire upward, which is the purpose, but when he's standing up, it seems to suggest he has more responsibility on the play, and he takes an extra half-second to determine what's happening. This tight end (Florida's Tevin Westbrook, keep an eye on him in undrafted free agency) beat him consistently in this game.
Now, watch Dupree coming out of a stance.
He fires off the ball quickly, stays low and bursts toward the quarterback. He wasted little movement and he made a play on the ball. These kinds of plays are why Dupree is considered a first round prospect, but a team more interested in using him as a left side defensive end may get more out of him than those looking for a stand-up outside linebacker who can drop into coverage.
This could be due to fatigue, which is a separate issue, but he is rushing from the same spot as he was in the earlier clip, and appears to get the same kind of angle advantage, but he can't finish it off. He doesn't gain enough depth as quickly as he did when he was down in a three-point stance. The quarterback is rolling out, and he's not pursuing.
His first two steps aren't as aggressive and true as they were in his two-point stance, and while he does a good job of breaking through, other plays he's made suggests he's more than capable of getting through the lineman's last-ditch effort to save his quarterback.
Again, this could be fatigue, and every player who plays hard all game is going to be a little winded toward the end. It's just hard to say he's just not a more explosive player coming out of a stance.
He's certainly not a total loss as a stand-up pass rusher. Dupree is an excellent athlete, and as aggressive as he is, he can still maintain good balance when delivering his initial move. He's got some work to do in establishing second and counter moves, but his hands are strong and his feet are moving in unison. That helps him parry off the block and get toward the passer. What's interesting here is how Dupree doesn't have his hand on the ground, but he's crouched low to it, another example of him playing with more power when he starts lower to the ground.