It’s quickly becoming apparent that the whipping boy de jour in Pittsburgh is going to be Bud Dupree, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ three-year veteran starting left outside linebacker, who was taken in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and has since played in 38 games, starting 24 of them, including 15 out of 15 games during the 2017 season.
During that time, he has recorded 90 tackles, 14 and a half sacks—including a career-high six this past season—three passes defensed, and a forced fumble. He posted a career-high 40 tackles this season, but he also played more in 2017 than he ever has.
As a point of comparison, rookie first-round outside linebacker T.J. Watt also played in and started 15 games in 2017. He recorded 54 tackles to go along with seven sacks, forced a fumble, recorded an interception and seven passes defensed, and blocked a kick.
The point is, the heat is on Dupree—has been on him for a while—and pretty much everybody has their own solutions for him. Many just want him to be benched, but others want to try to motivate him. Such as Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In an article that he published yesterday on the paper’s website, he argued that “the Steelers should put Bud Dupree on notice” by declining his fifth-year option, which is a decision that is due to be made during the first week of May.
He also believes that they should take another outside linebacker early in the draft. The worst-case scenario is that you have somebody to compete for a starter job. Alternatively, one or the other could develop into the starter that the team needs.
I’m sure that many will be very receptive to Starkey’s idea, and, honestly, I’m on board with it as well. I’ve probably written something about it at some point over the course of the past couple of months, since I touch on just about everything at some point, considering the amount that I write.
“Three years in, Dupree has shown very little to justify his draft slot (22nd overall) and will soon be known as “Dud” Dupree if he doesn’t turn it around”, Starkey wrote. “I wouldn’t yet say he is wading into Jarvis Jones waters, but he does remind me of a late-stage Jason Worilds. If that.
Jarvis Jones was the team’s first-round pick in 2013. He started for most of his four seasons here, but in 50 games managed just 129 tackles with six sacks, two interceptions, 10 passes defensed, and four forced fumbles.
Worilds was a second-round draft pick in 2010 who appeared to be developing only to prematurely retire. In five seasons, the early years of which he hardly played, he recorded 204 tackles with 25.5 sacks, one interception, and four forced fumbles.
He started 27 games in his final two years, recording 122 tackles, 15 and a half sacks, three forced fumbles, and interception, and three passes defensed.