Film Room: The Good, Bad, And Ugly Of Bud Dupree

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ bye week is letting us all catch our breath (and lower our blood pressure). And it’s also allowing us to take a deeper dive into certain players and review the first half of the season. Perhaps no one is under the microscope more than Bud Dupree. Entering the season with high expectations, by me maybe more than anyone else, has he lived up to them?

I looked at all of Dupree’s edge rushers this year, 124 in total. We’ll break them down, study the trends, and then look at the tape.

For starters, I charted each type of pass rush move Dupree used every rush.

Speed: 31
Bull: 23
Rip: 22
Spin: 4
Counter: 4
Club: 1
Swim: 1

22 other rushes were used on him being part of a stunt. Another 16 were part of a fire zone blitz.

Dupree has 15 pressures this year. Here is how each happened.

Speed: 5
Free Rusher/Blown protection/Blitz: 5
Stunt: 3
Rip: 2

A couple things stick out from the numbers.

– Almost all these rushes are coming from the outside. His rip move almost always happens around the edge too. Rarely does Dupree look to attack the inside half, making it easier for tackles to sit on the speed move and seal him upfield.

He’s countered an outside rush to the inside just four times on the 86 rushes he’s had (not counting stunts/blitzes), which again, tackles are going to see on film study and not have to worry about it.

When he does win, it’s pretty much always with speed and to the outside. His bend around the edge is better but he still has to do a better job of cornering and flattening the edge. Like here.

I have two other big issues with him as a pass rusher. Dupree isn’t doing a good enough job converting speed to power. And when he tries to win with something other than straight speed, he’s often wasting too much time/steps to get to the QB. Let’s look at both.

Here’s the first. Dupree coming off the edge, set wide because of the tight end’s presence. As he approaches the right tackle, he slows his speed, faking left and right in hopes – I guess – to get the tackle to commit. A pass rushing game of chicken. But the tackle doesn’t blink and stays in his pass set. Dupree hits him without any power, without any move.

Or here, a bull rush vs RT Mitchell Schwartz. Tries to use a speed bull rush that James Harrison uses so effectively. But as Harrison teaches it, the power needs to come off the 3rd or 5th step, where you convert to power, get hands in the check of the tackle, and rush the linemen back.

Here, Dupree is less hesitant with his bull rush but he’s pushing off on his 4th step. And he isn’t hitting it with near the power he’s capable of, not uncoiling his hips and hands too high. Schwartz is able to reset and anchor.

Compare Dupree’s hand placement to Harrison.

Yeah, Dupree has four inches on Deebo but a strike zone is a strike zone. And Dupree isn’t generating enough power for that bull rush, which he uses often, to be effective.

There are a couple caveats to throw in. Dupree has been hampered by a shoulder injury during the year, probably sapping him of some of that power. He *looks* healthier in recent weeks, letting him stay on his feet through contact. It was ugly early in the year, with him often off his feet and totally out of the play. That was Jarvis Jones’ problem; he couldn’t even luck/effort into sacks because he was looking up at the sky.

And he has been better, even against the Detroit Lions, a game where the pass rush didn’t generate enough pressure. Twice he strung together two moves, using a bull/one-arm stab into a rip move to beat the right tackle. Really effective here, forcing Matthew Stafford to step up into the pocket and take off, sacked by Tyson Alualu.

So it’s definitely not all bad. Just not where it could or should be.

Long story short, let me sum up the key points.

1. Dupree needs to be a more varied pass rusher capable of attacking the inside half of the tackle. He has to have a counter off his outside rush moves so the tackle can’t sit on the edge.

2. He needs to do a better job converting speed to power. More violence in his hands to be able to take control and finish rushes. Even when he’s been able to knock the tackle’s hands down, he’s been unable to finish plays.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Gizmosteel

    Good analysis, thanks. Do the Steelers use a 1st or 2nd rd pick on yet another OLB or is Dupree worthy of a second contract?

  • Mark DeSevo

    At what point does coaching come into play?

  • falconsaftey43

    Dupree has been who he was in college. An explosive linear athlete. He’s really fast in a straight line. He doesn’t have much pass rush IQ or moves to take advantage of what the tackle does. He hopes to beat them with pure speed, but doesn’t have the flexibility to turn the corner. He’s a disappointment for how high he was drafted. He’s not an impact player, but he’s not terrible. You can start him and be ok, but they need a better edge rusher.

  • falconsaftey43

    That’s always a question that’s put out there, but there is really no way to evaluate that sort of thing. Dupree spent a lot of time with Chuck Smith this offseason who a lot of premiere pass rushers spend big money to go train with on technique ect. So even if you’re inclined to think it’s Joey Porter’s fault for not developing him better, you have a highly respected guy in Smith who also wasn’t able to get Dupree to do anything besides run up the arc.

  • Aj Gentile

    Alex, does he look like he is improving as the season goes on? Also great article.

  • Lambert58

    Good work, as always, Alex. It seems to me a spin move back inside could be very effective for the type of rush he seems to do most often (speed/bull). With his quickness, he should be able to execute it with some work. (maybe work with T.J. on that one)

  • mem359

    Once Dupree’s shoulder is better, it will be interesting to see if he starts correcting the flaws pointed out. This week’s game will be a sign.

  • John Noh

    Alex, I wish you had shown the stunt he ran against the Bengals that resulted in a sack for Alualu ultimately. That was beautiful and something that should be more featured in the repertoire.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I remember he had a nice get off first step. I haven’t seen that a whole lot this year.

  • 太阳三联

    Good Lord, every play of the lions game I see a crazy/blatant hold. Smfh what are these refs looking at?!?!?

  • Brian Miller

    I think they keep drafting an OLB every year until they are comfortable with bookend LB studs and depth behind.

  • Brian Miller

    I am still pissed Porter didn’t bring in Barrett from Colorado State when he came on board…he saw him all year, he could be a starter here! I guess it’s possibled he didn’t want to come here but he had more opportunity here than behind Miller and Ware.

  • SfSteeler

    if there sitin on his outside speed and he lacks bend, that would be the obvious counter, also, utilizing his speed…did i mention speed?!

  • Brian Miller

    Do you remember who drafted Mathis from Oregon, or did he even get drafted?

  • They probably pick up the 5th year option and get an extra year to decide.

  • falconsaftey43

    you mean Joe Mathis from Washington? I think he was a UDFA with Texans and is an FA now.

  • Greg

    Can you do one of these for the sacks he finished this year? Id love to see the other side of it!

  • Michael James

    Has anyone started scouting high profile OLBs for the draft yet again?

  • Michael James

    As of now he’s clearly not worth a second contract.
    We can be hopeful that he somehow turns the corner (quite literally), but fooling ourselves into thinking that he’s already shown enough would be sugarcoating the reality.

  • Ross McCorkle

    A 2nd contract would come at a discount and with all our other stars we need solid cheap options. Dupree could be that after a 1st contract.

  • Michael James

    It’s a good question, but let’s look at it this way: Dupree spent the entire offseason training with a highly respected pass-rush guru (Chuck Smith), who is known and acknowledged as a great pass rushing teacher (worked with Von Miller, Khalil Mack etc).
    Somehow Dupree still hasn’t made significant progress. He’s still a bad pass-rusher (let’s just state it how it is). So it may not all be on coaching here…

  • Ike Evans

    Same problems from college…..glad he improved his bend a lil bit….y’all know my feelings on this guy

  • Michael James

    Spot on. Great athlete, has some definite strengths to his game, but is simply not a natural pass-rusher at all.

    You know what’s sad? I’m pretty dang sure that Keion Adams would already be a better pass-rusher than Dupree, if he could stay healthy (and if they let him on the field).

  • CP72

    How does a guy with Bud’s length try one darn swim move?

  • Michael James

    Honestly, if you want a cheaper option, just keep Keion Adams on his rookie deal or draft another OLB.
    Both options are way cheaper than Dupree (even if he takes a discount, he still wouldn’t play for peanuts as a former first-rounder with his athletic potential) and as it stands, there wouldn’t be any drop-off in the pass-rushing department at all.

  • Intense Camel

    I can’t understand why he does the same thing every play or why the coaches allow it. A simple bull rush here and there would be a big step, but he doesn’t even try it. If I was Porter I’d tell Bud I want to see him put a tackle on their ass in every game. No exceptions.

    He shouldn’t lost that weight imo, he already had a speed advantage at 270. He was already averse to contact, but now he’s even easier to block and doesn’t play with the same force. I’m guessing he thought losing the weight would turn him into Von Miller?

  • Intense Camel

    I get where you’re coming from, but if we can keep him for cheap I think a 2nd contract is a no-brainer. Even though he has disappointed he still has loads of potential. Low risk, high reward. Could not say the same for Jarvis.

  • #beatthepats

    Chickillo is better now.

  • #beatthepats

    Perfect analysis.

  • Ace

    Barret said publicy Porter and the Steelers low balled him hoping he would sign because of the CSU connection. Mans gotta get paid, I don’t blame him for going with the highest bidder.

  • Emiliano Castrejón

    Alex, could you do the same analysis for T.J. Watt? I’d love to compare the rushing styles of the two starting OLB’s

  • falconsaftey43

    I freaking love Keion Adams, so bummed he is on IR. I’d be fine going into next season with Watt-Chickillo-Adams-Rookie.

  • NCSteel

    Or maybe they could hire an outside linebacker coach.
    A real one.

  • Ace

    Good job Alex. We been looking for this one. Unfortunately not too long of a write up, prolly due to not much production on field. Would be nice to include his 3 sacks to see if they were the result of a specific move or something else. It’s due time the coaching staff realizes what he is and puts him in positions to succeed. Stunt him more, put him in space a little bit, free him up to use his speed against smaller guys on the inside line. I think they need to come up with something for Bud to get him playing to his strengths.

    That comp to Deebos bull is great to point. Deebo is forklifting the guy, all lower body power and his arms are just an extension of his base. I would guess 80% of the power generated is from the legs. Dupree on the other hand is aalllllll upper body on his bull. No squat and thrust, just pushing with his arms while tappity tapping his feet. How does he not know how to properly bull rush as a 3 year NFL OLB? It’s the first move they teach in HS…

  • falconsaftey43

    He tries the bull rush (a lot per Alex’s numbers) but he’s just bad at it, which really is sad because he’s big and explosive, should be easy.

  • Ace

    Yeah the Bull is all he does, and the OT knows it so they drop anchor with no fear of a counter. He needs to go back to the lab this off season. Not sure he can be fixed at this point. Maybes hes a really late bloomer.

  • Intense Camel

    I stand corrected. Just going off what I’ve been seeing from him during games. He really isn’t all that big anymore though. Him and TJ are more or less the same size. Hard to fathom that a guy like him can be that bad at bull rushing, it’s a fairly simple concept. Shedding the weight certainly didn’t help him that regard.

  • Intense Camel

    From what I’ve seen it just looks like he tries to run past the tackle without making contact. Maybe we should call them cow rushes for Bud.

  • Doug Andrews

    In that last KC gif Tuitt looks like a beast coming off the Edge

  • Michael James

    I understand that his athletic potential is mouthwatering and he’ll definitely be here next season. However, if he still won’t show significant progress after 4 years in the NFL, than it’s time to go (no matter the athletic potential). We need football players, not track athletes.

  • nutty32

    Second lowest hustle/effort guy on the D behind Artie. Crank up that motor on every play, Bud!

  • Intense Camel

    He hasn’t exactly been bad though. You have to remember this is basically his second year. Every player isn’t going to be a pro bowler. At the very worst he’s a solid role player. He’s worth keeping.

  • falconsaftey43

    Dupree paid to train with Chuck Smith who is supposed to be the best pass rushing trainer out there that all the NFL players go to. It’s on the player to implement what coaches and trainers teach them. Just because a guy doesn’t develop, doesn’t mean it’s the coaches fault.

  • falconsaftey43

    yep, pretty much. outside rush with no contact, or pathetic bull rush.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    been saying it for 2 years. shazier and dupree same problem. rely on speed not form. dupree needs to flatten, use more moves and stop avoiding the outer spin so much.

    jarvis 2.0.

    yall tried to crucify me when i said that. but look what has happened. he hasnt progressed that much further than jarvis did. chickillo on the other hand has grown quite a bit.

    they will not pick up his option if he doesnt change.

    another 1st round whiff.

  • Michael James

    As a pure pass-rusher (his main job), he’s been horrible.
    His numbers actually tell you everything you need to know. Outside of occasional success with a speed rush, he offers next to nothing as a pass-rusher.

  • Intense Camel

    Horrible is Jarvis Jones. I’d say he’s underwhelmed.

  • Brian Miller

    Ah, didn’t know that. Thanks for the info Ace…that just makes it worse though…lol

  • Brian Miller

    Yes, Joe Mathis. You are correct, from Washington not Oregon. FA now, so he didn’t stick anywhere…wish they would give him a shot.

  • Rob

    If he learned how to use his hands alone..he’d be the best pass rusher on this team by a wide margin. Too bad

  • Michael Mosgrove

    no chance next year. QB, Safety and TE are glaring needs.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    i doubt it at this point. think next year they start chickillo and watt, adams and dupree will backup.

  • Alex Kozora

    I think he has.

  • steelburg

    Chickillo is a better pure pass rusher IMO but I don’t think he is as good as Dupree in run support or in coverage. Bud IMO does everything good not great except for rush the passer. Be is a average pass rusher. If he asks for top OLB money I would easily move on. But if he can be had for a moderate deal I would sign him.

  • Alex Kozora

    Yeah I wasn’t super interested in more of the scheme stuff but him winning one-on-one battles against an OT.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    His college tape is a bunch of coverage sacks. Like you said bend is better, but he seems to have taken a step back in a few ways.

  • Just another one of your miss guided pipe dreams that will never come to fruition.

  • Nick Sabatella

    Booooooo this man

  • Nick Sabatella

    Think Dupree is in the bottom three of our defense for sure. Want him to step up his pass-rush game, but doesn’t look like he’s capable even though he seems to have all the tools… Lé sigh….

  • Michael Mosgrove

    i’m okay with having pipe dreams. its better than the alternative.

  • Taylor Williams

    I wouldn’t have him out there at all. It should be Watt-Heyward-Hargrave-Tuitt/Alualu with deebo and chick rotating in regularly.

    I don’t know why we didn’t go for Shane Ray.

  • Taylor Williams

    I swear it had be screaming my lungs out. Mihalik held Watt at least 6 times. Hargrave and heyward was held plenty of times.

  • Taylor Williams

    I think it’s mental. We might have another Shamarko Thomas

  • Taylor Williams

    I still think he’d be second to Watt.

  • Shane Ray was likely off their draft board. I don’t remember what his issues were, but was billed as a top 10 talent that dropped for having off the field concerns.

    Shane Ray hasn’t really fared much better as a pass rusher. In 35 career games he has 12 sacks (that includes the playoff 3 games). Bud Dupree has played 35 career games with 12 sacks (including 5 playoff games).

  • Levon Kirkland

    Awesome analysis. Thanks AK. Hope Bud reads!

  • NCSteel

    Thats not Harrison’s natural side. I don’t think that would work but it’s worth a try in practice.

  • NCSteel

    Great point.

  • NCSteel

    True, it’s a tough evaluation as a stand alone project. Looking at the larger sucesses Joey has had puts it into better context.
    The way he cranks out pro bowl OLB’s really puts it back on Bud.
    Sorry brother, just going for the laugh.
    Seriously, As is it in most cases, theres probably truth to both sides, Bud ain’t all that and neither is Joey.

  • NCSteel

    LOL !
    I was a fan of Joey, the player, I really was, loved watching him.
    Not such a big fan of Joey the coach.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Alex – this is cool. You listed 7 pass rushing techniques: Speed, Bull, Rip, Spin, Counter, Club, & Swim.Are there other techniques?

  • capehouse

    This is awesome. Excellent work, Alex. I think the speed to power is his biggest issue. Surprised he’s only countered 4 times all year. Curious as to where other pass rushers are in regards to that. Super interesting read though. Would love to see a pass rushing profile on every OLB/DE.

  • Rob

    Dupree has one less sack with as predictable an arsenal as you can get from a pass rushing standpoint. I don’t think it’s a hard sell, given his physical traits, that if he added the technique Watt already has, he’d be the better pass rusher right now. Watt wasn’t raw, he was inexperienced. Dupree, the epitome of raw, and unfortunately, it still shows.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Because he is a beast

  • #beatthepats

    Agree, hopefully he gets better with experiance

  • Michael Cunningham

    Between J Peezy and Harrison you know they are trying to teach him different techniques.
    For some reason just not registering as he has all the natural talent needed to dominate.

  • MC

    Ahhh I’ve been waiting for this article. He is no doubt in my mind the biggest disappointment on this defense, maybe on this team as a whole outside of Martavias.
    I key in on him and im just constantly baffled as to his lack of skill rushing the passer and his aversion to contact. If he doesn’t get around them (which is a lot) he stops and just plays patty cake, no adequate effort to stop on a dime and drive into the tackle or dip/rip/swim inside them. I truly believe he doesn’t like contact with a bigger man. Why else would he attempt something (the outside rush) that works so infrequently.
    Im glad you pointed to the Harrison vid cause I’ve mentioned that vid heaps of times in my many criticisms of bud on this site. He has great rushers around him like Harrison and Porter to learn from but I see no implementation of anything other than what gets him ran up the arc.
    Youre absolutely right about tackles knowing what he’s going to do and therefore position themselves accordingly. He has the speed, but tackles know he’s going to run out and up the arc so they kick back for it, so why the hell doesn’t he set them up for an aggressive inside move?????? blows me away how little value he’s been as a 22nd overall. Should of went with Shane Ray.

  • mhurk

    Coaches can only do so much, cant turn Lead into Gold.

  • Chad Weiss

    He got busted w weed right before draft or tested positive at combine. I can’t remember

  • Chad Weiss

    Do Steelers pick up this guy’s fifth year option?

  • MC

    Shazier makes splash plays however, Dupree doesn’t outside of a hustle sack.

  • MC

    Plus they tried that with him in this game but because the OL didn’t get fooled he got stonewalled.

  • mhurk

    They shouldnt just hand the job to Dupree cause He was a 1st round pick, Chick looks like the better player.

  • mhurk

    I agree #48 is not Jarvis Jones but He is close, I would not give Him a second contract.

  • walter

    we cant afford to keep playing Dupree

  • Brenton deed

    Who is better? Deebo’ batteries maybe low and is being conserved.

  • Jaybird

    Watt is in pass coverage a ton , skewing his sack totals. But man is he good in coverage- the dude is athletic as hell.

  • Guillermo Garcia-Gomez

    Tough to argue that chickillo isn’t a better pass rusher right now. All Dupree does is try to win the edge with speed or throw a weak bull rush. He’s better than Jarvis was, but not by much.

  • Rob

    To be fair, both drop into coverage a lot, as a part of this scheme. Unless you have the pass rush snap totals (i couldn’t find them) lets call that a wash.

    Also, sack totals aren’t really what I was trying to get at, just trying to point out that given how Dupree’s sacks have come (one dimensional speed/stunts), if he had better hand usage (TJ is already pretty advanced in this area), imo, he would be the best edge rusher on the team. Right now, I definitely think TJ has been more effective to be clear. It may happen that Dupree puts it all together, it might not, but his physical attributes are going to be hard to let go of.

  • GravityWon

    I think his ceiling has less to do with pass rush IQ or athleticism and more to do with his mentality. A natural pass rusher like Greg Lloyd or Kevin Greene felt like “you can’t stop me”. Then they would proceed to run through, around and over tackles. Every play was combat.

    I don’t know if Dupree has that ultra-competitive personality needed to get to the next level.

  • capehouse

    Snaps Per Pressure(from Alex’s defensive charting after 6 weeks)

    Harrison: 4.3
    Watt: 11
    Dupree: 11.2
    Chickillo: 21

    Chickillo gets stalemated even more than Dupree. Dupree is our best option if they’re keen on giving Deebo rest throughout the season.

  • capehouse

    Exactly. As frustrating as Dupree is, he’s our best option outside Deebo.

  • Jaybird

    I’m not sure who the author was , but a week or two ago the Depot had an article about how much Watt is put into pass coverage. I remember the author saying how incredibley high the number of times TJ drops into coverage, even for a 3-4 Steeler OLB. I’ll try to find it for you( no promises I’ll find it though).

  • Brenton deed

    I guess he’s relatively cheap and he’s not as disappointing as Jones was. They’ve got Kion Adams “stashed” on IR and I guess they’ll draft someone next draft – even early if they really like him. So Dupree has shown just enough for one more year.

    Deebo should be retired after breaking his Interception return for TD record in a SB and his MVP performance in the SB.
    He will join the organisation as a conditioning consultant and assistant OLBs coach.

  • Steve

    Good coaches help create average players into good players or good players into Great players, but you still need a player that is willing to make that change. Sending Jarvis to Smith wouldn’t help him. Jarvis was a terrible 1st round pick. Our hope is that Smith can help train Dupree into a better pass rusher.

  • Steve

    Chick and Dupree will always be average at best IMO.

  • Cwallace

    Mr Kirkland..you are one of my favorite steelers linebackers of all time and ive been watching since the early 70’s. I still marvel at some of the things i seen from you on Sundays. I can only imagine what your eyes see when you watch these kids. Them Cowher defenses were flat gritty..almost every year so i know you can see better than anyone on this site.

  • NCSteel

    LOL.
    I hear you.

  • Cwallace

    I noticed that in game. Refs are pimps to the points..dont trust em and never will. Mean Joe Green got me this way every since that 1980 season.

  • Stout

    Aggravating, right? He was already cheap and they wanted cheaper. Plus, they could’ve stole him off their PS!

  • Cwallace

    Yeah i like Peezy the player but coach JP aint the answer because he’s not getting results. Kevin Green who i want

  • Stout

    Still have this year and next to decide on Bud, but Chickillo HAS improved every year ( not saying he is the answer) but that kind of improvement from Bud would be nice.

  • NCSteel

    I think the Kevin Greene ship has sailed but they’re are true teachers out there. Craftsman.
    Make Joey the psychological expert or something and bring in a teacher to help those young guys with their craft.
    Thats all.

  • 太阳三联

    Straight up. They are garbage and every time we are playing bad it correlates with terrible officiating. Every. Single. Time.

  • walter

    Time to play Deebo