The NFL Draft is just over two weeks away and I’ll continue researching the prospects throughout the lead-up to the draft. Along the way I’ll be sharing some of what I find out with Real Redskins readers. The focus will be on players in areas of need for the Redskins but I might look at players at just about any position since Scot McCloughan has said that he will take the best player available regardless of need.
What they’re saying:
What I liked: In watching edge rusher after edge rusher in this portion of our study, it is clear that some just have the tools and technique to get the corner naturally and with ease. Bud Dupree has a certain element of “DeMarcus Ware” to his game and is as natural as you would hope. He explodes off the snap and around a tackle at times and on his day is one explosive play after another. He also had several occasions this year where on run plays he would jump through a gap before the guard/tackle could close the window and be on the running back as he takes the hand-off, leading to a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.
What I did not like: There are moments where you want more. As impressive as he is, his production level of only 7.5 sacks in 2014 and 7 sacks in 2013 does make you wonder. He really looks like he has a gear he can find at any point, but in watching 200 of his snaps or so, I would have guessed I was watching a 15-sack season this year. That did not happen for him.
—Bob Sturm, Dallasnews.com
How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins allowed 27.4 points per game last year, 29th in the NFL. Their secondary could be marginally better after some additions but if the pass defense is going to improve (24th in yards allowed, 32nd in TD passes, 32nd with 108.3 opp. passer rating) the pass rush will have to get better. Dupree is a very good if somewhat unpolished edge rusher, explosive and versatile. He played all over the Wildcats’ defensive front, inside and outside, left and right, on two feet and with his hand in the dirt. The Redskins could use a flexible player as new defensive coordinator Joe Barry will use multiple fronts and a pass rusher who can line up anywhere to keep the offensive will be welcome.
Kentucky defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot had Dupree drop back into coverage on a significant number of snaps. He will need some work on NFL coverages; he usually just dropped back into a zone. But he does have the experience in pass coverage, something that a number of college edge rushers lack.
Potential issues: In fact, Dupree may have too much experience in pass coverage. As Strum noted, his numbers were not what one might expect from a stud pass rusher. On analyst noted Dupree spending a lot of time in coverage and that doesn’t lead to big-time sack numbers.
His tackling technique is a bit sloppy and that resulted in some missed opportunities for sacks so that might account for some of his low sack totals.
In some instances it seems that Dupree just reacts to where the ball is going rather than reading the play. As a result he ends up chasing after the ball at times where getting a half a step advantage would have had him in the thick of the play. This is something that can be helped with coaching and film study. One thing that Scot McCloughan will have to do is determine how hard Dupree is will to work to improve his impressive natural ability.
Bottom line: In a strong pool of pass rushers, most analysts have Dupree is somewhere below the elite group of Shane Ray, Dante Fowler, Vic Beasley, and, prior to the revelation of his positive drug test at the combine, Randy Gregory. But the fact that the Mel Kipers of the world rank Dupree behind those players doesn’t necessarily mean that McCloughan or other NFL GM’s will.
Still, I don’t see the Redskins taking Dupree if they stay with the fifth pick in the draft. It seems that Fowler or Beasley would be a better pick; so might wide receivers Amari Cooper and Kevin White. But a trade back to a pick somewhere in the early teens could give the Redskins a solid edge rusher in Dupree and some added picks later to fill other holes.
In his own words:
Dupree on playing in both two- and three-point stances and dropping into coverage.
I think they’ve got me at linebacker [at the combine] because they’ve seen me do the three-point stance . . . I’ve got a lot of film in the 3 point stance and standing up. I think any team can see that I can play both positions . . . I’m very comfortable [in ocverage]. I got more comfortable this year by doing it a lot at practice, covering the slot . . . I played inside linebacker from my sophomore year to my senior year.
Previously in Draft Countdown:
- Florida State OL Cameron Erving
- Connecticut DB Byron Jones
- Northern Iowa RB David Johnson
- Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon
- Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson
- Penn State S Adrian Amos
- Duke G Laken Tomlinson
- LSU OT La’el Collins
- Clemson Edge Vic Beasley
- Alabama S Landon Collins
- West Virginia WR Kevin White
- Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr.
- Oklahoma NT Jordan Phillips
- Utah CB Eric Rowe
- Nebraska DE Randy Gregory
- Virginia S Anthony Harris
- Florida State G Tre Jackson
- Syracuse S Durell Eskridge
- Stanford OT Andrus Peat
- Ole Miss S Cody Prewitt
- USC DT Leonard Williams