NFL Draft scouting is a rather interesting and, especially recently, booming industry. It seems that every year it is made easier and easier for complete amateurs to gain access to the requisite body of information to draw competent evaluations of players more often than not—whether or not they actually use that information to achieve said competent evaluation.
But for any good evaluator, one of the most important tools in your kit is self-evaluation, which means looking back at your prior evaluations and seeing what you did well, and especially where you went wrong.
Generally speaking, there are four categories of draft re-evaluation: where you were rightfully high, where you were rightfully low, where you were too high when you should have been lower, and where you were too low when you should have been higher.
Regardless of what you might think of Pro Football Focus, or their ability to accurately gauge how much a rookie might be used (they are surely way off on their prediction that Sutton Smith will have a reasonably decent role on defense this season, for example), at the very least, they do their self-evaluations and they put it out there.
In one article, they talked about the players that they were too low on, and one of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ high draft picks in recent years fell into that category, as they talked about how they missed the mark on JuJu Smith-Schuster in 2017, in part because of the way he was used in his final season.
The site recently posted another article in which they focused on the players in whom they were right to be low on, and unfortunately another Steeler made this list, that being 2015 first-round draft pick, outside linebacker Bud Dupree.
While we didn’t have a draft board back in 2015, we still had a list of the most overrated players in the draft. Dupree was a lock for the list after he failed to produce consistently at Kentucky despite his freakish athletic traits. Over half of his 35 pressures his final season in college came in three games against Louisiana-Monroe, Missouri and Louisville while he recorded one total pressure in the South Carolina, LSU and Georgia games combined.
It’s fair to say that, four years into his career, even the Steelers’ coaching staff knows that he hasn’t lived up to his potential. They still speak of him in youthful terms, using the word ‘potential’ and talking about continued growth, even as he prepares for his fifth season. That is past the ‘breakout’ point for all but a few players, especially at the pass-rushing position.
Luckily, the team did seem to hit on the position two years later with T.J. Watt as their first-round pick in 2017. In each of his first two season, he has already recorded more sacks than Dupree has in any of his four seasons, and has as many career sacks in half the number of years.