I have over the course of the past several seasons turned to a series of articles around this time of year in which I looked to explore the issues and questions facing the Pittsburgh Steelers during the upcoming season and trying to identify the range of possibilities in which any given scenario can end.
I started out with a dual series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take and switched last season to the Devil’s Advocate series. In an attempt to find a more streamlined solution with a title more suited to the actual endeavor, we are introducing a simple Buy Or Sell segment exploring whether the position statement is likely to be worth investing in as an idea.
The range of topics will be wide, from the specific to the general, exploring broad long-term possibilities to the immediate future of particular players. I will make an argument for why a concept should be bought into as well as one that can be sold, and you can share your thoughts on which is the more compelling case while offering your own.
Topic Statement: Bud Dupree will be with the Steelers in 2020.
This should be fun. And remember, this is about what you think will happen, not what you want to see happen. You don’t buy stock because you think it looks pretty, you buy it because you think it will provide you with returns.
Bud Dupree is a player the Steelers believe is still ascending, and there is precedent for that belief within the position that he plays. It sometimes takes a few years for a player to ‘break out’, so to speak, and that is as true for pass-rushers as it is any other position.
Yet the team has clearly voiced its opinion in believing that Dupree has more to offer than we have seen, allowing for injuries that have slowed him down. His playing through a shoulder injury last season severely hampered what he was able to do on the field.
The default assumption is health. Dupree should be healthy in 2018, and therefore should have his best season. He has already proven to be able to make plays purely from his athleticism. As a healthy player this year, he will look the part and earn himself a contract extension prior to the 2019 season.
The working presumption that Dupree will be gone soon rests upon the belief that he is not going to be much better than he has been so far in his career. We don’t have compelling evidence to suggest that that will be the case, even if that is in part because we have not seen him when he is not playing through injuries since his rookie season.
Picking up his fifth-year option doesn’t even guarantee that he will be on the roster in 2019, let alone 2020. Naturally, the Steelers would like for him to be the answer at the left outside linebacker position, but he has to earn it first.
This is an early stock because there is so much speculation involved in a scenario two years in advance given what we currently know. With that in mind, it’s hard to buy because there are too many unknowns, and thus too much risk.