There’s quite a few people that are not big fans of Pro Football Focus, but that hasn’t prevented them from becoming one of the most popular sports analytic websites on the web. What they wrote Wednesday about one of the Pittsburgh Steelers draft picks probably isn’t going to help them garner more black and gold fans.
In a post that identifies the 10 biggest reaches in the 2015 NFL Draft, Sam Monson has the Steelers selection of linebacker Bud Dupree listed at No. 2.
If ever there was a player drafted because of potential and measurables it is Bud Dupree. In shorts he looks like a draft stud, with the size, speed and athleticism to be a devastating pass-rusher. The only trouble is so far he hasn’t been one. Dupree was 23rd among edge rushers in this draft class in Pass Rushing Productivity, a per-snap measure of the pressure he generated, a staggering lack of production for a guy as physically gifted as he is.
Monson goes on to say that there were seven other 3-4 outside linebackers that registered more total pressures than Dupree did even though the Kentucky product rushed the passer more times than all of them but one.
In a recent interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops talked about the lack of positional coaching that Dupree received while at Kentucky. Additionally, he admitted to not hiring a 3-4 outside linebacker coach after he switched from a 4-3 defense a few years ago. He went on to say that Dupree’s stats probably would’ve been better had the team never switched defensive schemes.
“If we just left him in the 4-3 and let him rush the passer and be a 4-3 defensive end, you would’ve seen his numbers go through the roof with sacks,” Stoops said, according to the paper. “But he did a lot of things with us, and he’s very versatile, and we were transitioning. It was very nice for us to have such a versatile athlete playing that position.”
Now that Dupree has been drafted by the Steelers, he’ll get the proper coaching from Joey Porter and Stoops said he believes that’s exactly what his former player needs to excel at the next level.
“It can only help him as he moves forward,” Stoops said. “That’s why Bud’s just getting better and better with every rep and every game.”
I think Stoops’ comments are very enlightening because on tape he certainly didn’t look like a natural pass-rusher when asked to stand on his feet.
While PFF’s stats are probably right on the money, Stoops’ comments give us hope that Dupree will far exceed his college production. Stats, analytics and measurables are all nice to have, but one can’t ignore other factors in projecting the future success of college players at the NFL. Lack of proper coaching is a huge factor that needs to be considered and I’m willing to bet that PFF doesn’t know about that little tidbit until now.