Now that the 2020 regular season has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the season as it plays out. Who is making plays? Who is missing them? Who is losing snaps? Who is struggling to stay on the field?
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: OLB Bud Dupree
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: Having done so perhaps somewhat quietly, Bud Dupree has seemingly picked up where he left off in his level of play last season.
Bud Dupree posted a career-high with 68 tackles last season. At least from the pace that he is setting through three games this year, he is not going to reach that mark in 2020, but that is in part because others are making those plays along the interior.
He does already have two and a half sacks on the season, as well as six quarterback hits. Pro Football Reference credits him with 11 total pressures so far this year, in just three games. Compared to last year, he was credited by the outlet with only 28 pressures, so he is already on a pace to surpass those numbers as a pass rusher.
And he has taken advantage of the opportunities he has been given when offenses choose to leave him unblocked as a backside defender, something that he did a great job of in recent years and which he continues to do.
In summary, more or less, Dupree is continuing to do what he has needed to do to earn himself a nice big contract next offseason, and that’s a contract that will not be coming from the Steelers, because they simply can’t afford it, unless the salary cap is somehow radically higher than is being projected.
Although it took him some time to fully develop, by this point in his career, in the Steelers’ system, he has transformed himself into a complete player. He might not ever be recognized as a Pro Bowler, and ideally he would be a complement to another edge defender whose specialty is rushing the passer, but he has proven to be a winning football player.