He's not just any other athlete. He's arguably the best athlete in the last few years of the draft. At 6'4 and 269 pounds, Dupree ran a 4.56 40 yard dash, which is faster than Jay Ajayi. His 10 yard split was 1.60, which is faster than Amari Cooper. Dupree also had the 3rd highest broad jump and 5th highest vertical jump of all positions. Athleticism, energy, versatility. That's what Dupree brings to the table.
Freaky First Step
There's a lot of confusion between having a good first step, and being able to time the snap well. Missouri's Shane Ray and the Chiefs' Dee Ford were snap-anticpators. Both had embarrassingly slow short shuttles and you can see that when they are forced to change directions. In Dupree's case, he is an otherworldly athlete. From a density standpoint, you'd be hard pressed to find a player more explosive than Dupree.
Dupree is the blur at the top of the screen. He is into his first step before literally every lineman on both sides of the ball are out of their stance. By his third step, Dupree is at the 50 yard line and the quarterback is only in the second step of his drop. This play ended up as a sack.
From a speed rush standpoint, Dupree is going to get you 5 sacks as a rookie just by being a better athlete from who he is lined up across from. Let's not pretend that the NFL is loaded with great athletes along the offensive line. Dupree brings a speed element off of the edge that most teams just don't have.
Combine Dupree's first step with his ability to close on the quarterback and you already have a strong baseline trait to work with. Because of Dupree's speed advantage to the edge, offensive tackles will overset and allow him to counter back to the inside.
Look at the amount of space Dupree is given to work with on the inside shoulder of the tackle. That's what happens when lineman are scared to death of getting beat to the outside. That's what Dupree will do.
Winning with technique
Where Dupree lacks is winning with technique. Dupree is already at a slight disadvantage because of his 32 5/8" arms. When he doesn't win initially with speed, or make first contact with his hands like in the Vine above, lineman hem him up and that's all she wrote. While Dupree can counter with athleticism, he doesn't consistently counter with technique. There were too many occasions where Dupree would comfortably be the first person off of the line of scrimmage, but his rush would stall because he would just run into the tackle full speed and lack a counter move.
The best pass rushers in the NFL all have counters. Whether it's a push and pull move, a club and rip move, or a one-arm bull rush. The one-arm bull rush is something Dupree has flashed and it's a move that I believe he can excel at with his strength. The saying "One arm is longer than two" certainly applies for pass rushers with shorter arms. It offsets their length disadvantage, while allowing them to get into the pads of the offensive lineman and gain ground on the quarterback. There were back to back plays against Louisville where I thought this was effective. The first rush below is the one-arm bull rush I'm referring to.
This wasn't a "wow" type rush by any means. However, it did flash that Dupree is capable of setting the tackle up with more ways to win than just speed. Here's the effect it had on the very next play.
When you have a repertoire of moves, you keep lineman off balance. Dupree doesn't do this nearly enough. But just by changing it up from pure speed to a one-arm bull rush and an arm over in back to back plays he makes the tackle look silly.
I mentioned making first contact and how it's important for Dupree. It's clear as day how strong he is. When you see the grade for his strength below, this might sound hypocritical. On one hand, I've seen him grab tight ends, and even tackles, by the pads and throw them to the side like a rag doll. When it's vice versa, he doesn't have the length to disengage. Dupree will try to withstand with power but because he doesn't have his hands inside he will get steered out of the play or into the ground. His technique is inconsistent at best. When he does play with technique and it's paired with his athleticism, his flashes rival any prospect in the class.
Where does he get drafted?
|Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10||8.5 – 9.0|
|Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round||8.0 – 8.4|
|Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round||7.8 – 7.9|
|Reliable Starter, 2nd Round||7.5 – 7.7|
|Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round||7.0 – 7.4|
|Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round||6.5 – 6.9|
|Productive Backup, 5th Round||6.0 – 6.4|
|Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round||5.5 – 5.9|
|Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round||5.0 – 5.4|
|Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round||4.5 – 4.9|
|Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations||4.0 – 4.4|
Dupree grades out to a 7.81, or an early 2nd round pick. In this draft, that grade puts him as the 32nd best player. I thought there were too many missed tackles, not enough refinement in technique, and though he is flexible enough, he doesn't necessarily flatten around the edge.
His versatility is unmatched. He moves like a safety in space, he's very comfortable going either direction. He is strong enough to play the SAM outside linebacker in a 3-4, and fast enough to play the JACK outside linebacker in a 3-4. I wouldn't be surprised if a team that runs a base 4-3 scheme took him and put him at outside linebacker. His ability to chase and close allow him to excel in space.
His coach made a good point about his lack of "production." Dupree was asked to do so much in Kentucky's scheme that he never really had a chance to master becoming a pass rusher. Him dropping into space or "playing games" up front also took away from his opportunities to rush the passer.
How he fits as a Charger
Dupree compliments Melvin Ingram and Jeremiah Attaochou pretty well. He is a tier above both as far as athleticism and strength, provided he plays with the technique he's flashed. Unlike the others I believe he can consistently hold up on the strong side of the formation. Jarret Johnson was also asked to drop into coverage last year a little over 20%. I don't think he looked very comfortable in doing so. Pagano won't have any issues with Dupree in this regard.
That, and going into 2014 expecting a full season from Ingram/Attaochu is asking for trouble, make Dupree a perfect match for the San Diego Chargers.