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Free agent profile: Edge Bud Dupree

Would Dupree be an adequate replacement for Von Miller?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns
Should the Broncos replace Von Miller with Dupree?
Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

If the Broncos elect to move on from Von Miller, they could elect to pursue a premier edge rusher to replace him. While Bradley Chubb made the Pro Bowl, he also missed time in both of the last two seasons and the Broncos may not see Malik Reed as a starting caliber edge rusher.

Would it make sense to steal a star from Pittsburgh?

Player Profile

Bud Dupree, Edge, Pittsburgh Steelers
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 269 lbs.
Age: 28
Experience: 6 NFL Seasons

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted the freaky Alvin “Bud” Dupree with the 22nd pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He had a rough start to his NFL career with four sacks as a rookie and an injury-marred sophomore campaign that likely pushed the Steelers’ Kevin Colbert to draft J.J. Watt’s younger brother in 2017. Adding a top tier pass rusher helped create mismatches for the former Wildcat, but Dupree was so disappointing that there was debate about if the Steelers should pick up his fifth year option.

Pittsburgh brought Dupree back for his fifth season and he returned the faith with the best season of his career, finishing with 48 individual pressures, 11.5 sacks, 17 QB hits, 16 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles, and three passes defensed.

Rather than lose him to free agency, the Steelers placed their franchise tag on Dupree to retain him for the 2020 season. He picked up where he left off the year before by knocking quarterback Drew Lock out of the Week 2 contest with the Denver Broncos and tallied eight sacks in 11 games before an ACL tear ruined his contract year.

Why it makes sense

If the Broncos cut Von Miller they could decide to pursue a proven pass rusher to replace him. While Dupree got off to a slow start to begin his career, Sports Info Solutions credits him with 170 pressures since T.J. Watt joined the Steelers. He has 19.5 sacks over his last 27 games and last season marked the best pressure percentage of his career to date. He could punish opposing protection schemes for devoting too much attention to Bradley Chubb.

In addition, Dupree would serve as an upgrade over Malik Reed at the point of attack. He’s a solid edge setter and has the speed and motor to chase runs downs if they’re going away from him.

The ACL injury is certainly a factor, but the main reason Pittsburgh will probably let Dupree test free agency is due to their cap situation. They simply can’t afford him.

Why it doesn’t make sense

If the Broncos are going to pay big money to an edge coming off injury, why not Von? Dupree’s 2020 season ended with an ACL tear and it remains to be seen if he can regain his bend and explosiveness. Broncos Country just watched as Chubb fought his way back from a bum wheel, it can take longer than expected.

Another huge red flag with Dupree stems from the defense he’d leave behind. Keith Butler’s run one of the more aggressive pressure schemes in the league and gives his edges ample opportunities to rush the passer. At no point in Dupree’s career has his pressure percentage exceeded 13.6%. For comparison’s sake, Miller’s percentage was only less than that amount once over the last four seasons - and it led to the Broncos drafting Chubb.

Final Thoughts

There’s little doubt Von Miller is a question mark coming off a freak injury at 32 years old, but I suspect replacing him with Bud Dupree would quickly blow up in George Paton’s face.

Dupree’s a product of his environment, and it looks unlikely that he’ll provide a suitable return on investment if given a contract averaging more than $15+ million a year.


Should the Broncos replace Von with Bud?

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