During the 2015 NFL Draft, Pittsburgh Steelers fans watched as Alvin “Bud” Dupree fell down the board.
Pick after pick and, before you knew it, Black-and-gold faithful were staring at a prospect no one ever saw being available when it was Pittsburgh’s turn to select. After tearing up the NFL Scouting Combine, Dupree was slotted to be a Top-10 pick, but his raw ability left a lot to be desired for many teams.
Four years later, Dupree has been anything but spectacular for the Steelers, and nothing has been more frustrating than his inability to get to the quarterback. Yes, Dupree has dealt with several injuries throughout the contract he signed as a rookie. But when healthy and in the lineup, his ability, or lack thereof, to create havoc in the opponent’s backfield has been conspicuous.
You can point to myriad statistics showing Dupree’s ineptitude in the pass-rushing category, but a Pro Football Focus (PFF) statistic cited in a recent ESPN Insider article illustrates this simple and obvious fact perfectly.
After Dupree was listed as the Steelers’ biggest weakness on the defensive side of the football, the following paints a very clear picture:
Drafted with the expectation that he would become the next great Steelers outside linebacker, Bud Dupree has failed to live up to his draft billing so far. From 354 pass-rushing snaps in the 2017 regular season, he produced just 40 total pressures, and he has just 83 total pressures since he entered the league in 2015.
354 pass-rushing snaps in the entire 2017 season...
There really isn’t anything else which needs to be said regarding Dupree’s professional tenure, but if you're the extreme optimist, you could say Dupree’s 40 pressures in 2017, albeit a low number, comprises nearly 50-percent of his career pass-rushing pressures.
Some might call this improvement.
The Steelers have decided to pick up Dupree’s 5th-year option on his rookie contract but, barring injury, they can always rescind it after the 2018 season if he doesn’t perform up to the organization’s standards. Needless to say, the pressure is on Dupree in 2018, and he needs to start getting after the quarterback if he wants to stay in Pittsburgh and sign his second contract with the team.