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: The Steelers have to be open to using a rotation at outside linebacker if Bud Dupree is not taking a step forward.
Buy (Agree with the Statement):
If Bud Dupree is not taking a step forward in 2018 then he is probably not taking another step in Pittsburgh in 2019. The Steelers may have picked up his fifth-year option, but there are pretty reasonable odds that they would release him if he does not demonstrate improved play in his fourth season.
And if that is the case, then you need to start looking at your other options, which this year includes a couple of young players that you might want to learn more about, including Keion Adams, who was a draft pick a year ago.
Beyond that, it just doesn’t make sense to wear out a player who is only performing at a level that is average at best. Even if he is slightly better than the players ahead of him, it would probably be to the benefit of the unit as a whole to have the fresher player on the field, whether that’s Anthony Chickillo or somebody else.
Sell (Disagree with the Statement):
Dupree’s fourth season is basically Jarvis Jones’ third season. The Steelers needed to learn what they had in Jones before deciding whether or not to pick up his fifth-year option in year three, so they played him that year as much as they could.
Even if Dupree is struggling out of the gate, you need to give him that full run to be absolutely certain in your evaluation, because it’s too costly of a mistake to get wrong either way.
If you give him the benefit of the doubt and keep him but he remains mediocre, you’re out nearly $10 million. Alternatively, if he has extenuating circumstances keeping him from succeeding and you end up cutting him, his talent could emerge on another team and you’ll have let it slip through your grasp because you didn’t get a full evaluation.