The Pittsburgh Steelers need a pass rusher, and they have taken their time looking at University of Kentucky's DE/OLB Alvin "Bud" Dupree. Steelers' head coach Mike Tomlin and outside linebackers coach Joey Porter both were in attendance at Dupree's pro day recently, and after stellar combine numbers the question remains if he will be on the board when the Steelers select 22nd in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Not that there aren't questions surrounding Dupree and his ability to move from defensive end in college to OLB in the NFL within a 3-4 scheme. Let the experts give their opinions on Dupree's strengths and weakness and whether he would be a good fit in newly hired Keith Butler's defensive scheme.
Height: 6-feet 4-inches
Weight: 269 pounds
Arm Length: 32 5/8-inches
Hands: 9 3/4-inches
40-yard Dash: 4.56 seconds
Vertical Jump: 42-inches
Broad Jump: 138-inches
20-yard short shuttle (Pro Day): 4.47 seconds
3-cone drill (Pro Day): 7.49 seconds
STRENGTHS: Freakish athlete with chiseled frame. Posted incredible 42-inch vertical leap and 4.56 40 at the combine while weighing 269 pounds. Outstanding power with ability to rag-doll tight ends at will. Should be an above average edge-setter. Good transition from playing run to rushing quarterback in play-action. Explosive closing burst. Willing thumper when he has a shot on running back. Can drop into space and play zone. Raw, but learning with huge growth potential as a player. Has strength at the point to be a physical edge-setter. Scouts give him plus grade for character.
WEAKNESSES: Tall but not long. Wins with athleticism over skill at this point. Some scouts believe his instincts are below average, leading to hesitation. Will get caught taking bad angles to the ball. Needs to improve hand fighting. Still raw rushing the passer. Doesn't possess a go-to pass-rush move. Appears to lack urgency in-game.
STRENGTHS: Productive pass rusher whose success stems from his physical gifts and technique. Has long arms, a quick burst, the flexibility to turn the corner and an explosive burst to close when the ballcarrier is near. Varies his rush moves, lulling opponents with one speed and surprising with an occasional extra burst to generate big plays at critical moments.
Locates the ball quickly and is passionate in pursuit, making some big hits when he gets there.
Often asked to drop and has some instincts in coverage. Has good lateral agility to slip bigger, slower opponents and the understanding of leverage to get under their pads and to create a pile to plug-up the action. Touted as a strong leader on and off the field.
WEAKNESSES: Lacks functional football strength. Struggles to rip free once engaged. Relies on his agility and savvy to slip by would-be blockers. Rarely physically breaks the grasp of blockers once engaged. Rarely gets his hands up to cloud the vision of quarterbacks. Sometimes takes wide angles in pursuit, giving up extra yardage.
STRENGTHS: Despite spending the past few seasons as one of the best defensive players in the SEC, Dupree went under the radar playing at Kentucky. He is a big, fast, edge rusher who can be a force on the edge.
For the NFL, Dupree has the speed and strength to be a tough battle for offensive tackles. Dupree would be a star of the all-looks team with his body type. As a pass-rusher, he can burn tackles with a speed rush yet also is strong enough to fight them off with his hands. Dupree can shed blocks and win with a bull rush as well. He could use more refinement with his pass-rushing moves, but he has the potential to be a double-digit sack producer as a pro. Dupree is also a good run-defender. He is strong at the point of attack and is able to maintain his gap. Furthermore, Dupree pursues well and has a good motor.
WEAKNESSES: A little stiff off the ball and could use more refinement of pass-rushing moves to be effective in the NFL. He should drop a little weight for a 3-4 outside linebacker position.
Dupree is an athlete with the incredible combination of size and speed. Dupree is far from a finished product coming out of college, and will need to find a team which is a good fit for him at the pro level. The Pittsburgh Steelers certainly could be that team, but the reality of the draft shows he could be off the board when the Steelers select at the 22nd overall position. Trading up is always a possibility, but when the Steelers desire both a pass rusher and cornerback, the very well might stay put and see which athletes are available when they select. Nonetheless, Dupree could help improve a lagging pass rush the Steelers have lacked for the past few seasons.