The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Bud Dupree will be able to take advantage of his favorable matchup on Sunday.
Explanation: The San Francisco 49ers will be without their long-time left tackle, Joe Staley, on Sunday after he suffered a broken leg that will keep him out a while. They will be starting a rookie sixth-round pick out of Vanderbilt. A former first-round edge defender should be salivating in preparation for that matchup.
While he hasn’t been blowing the doors off of anybody this year, Dupree has been doing his job for the most part. He did have a sack in the season opener against Tom Brady, and has had a couple of tackles for loss. He had a hit on Russell Wilson Sunday.
And he has gone up against some good tackles. While Isaiah Wynn was a new face, he was a 2018 first-round draft pick in Week One. And Duane Brown has been a long-time stabilizer, first on Houston, and then with Seattle in recent years.
And you probably never even heard of Justin Skule. Let’s make this clear. Skule wasn’t even supposed to be the backup, the swing tackle. That was going to be Shon Coleman, a name you might at least know, a former starter, but he got injured as well. This would almost be like the Steelers starting Derwin Gray.
Regardless of how it looks on paper, we’ve been down this road before. How many times have we entered a game with an injury at tackle, wondering if this is the game Dupree is going to take advantage of, to dominate? More than one. How many has he dominated? Fewer than one.
Chances are, the 49ers are going to be giving him a lot of help, as. They have the tight ends, the fullback, and the running back all capable of providing chips and even double teams to hide their rookie starter on the blindside.
And Jimmy Garoppolo is already one of the fastest quick-release passers. I believe he ranked second in time-to-throw last week. They’re only going to accelerate that knowing that they don’t have Staley out there. This game will be on interior pressure and coverage, not the edge.