Despite concern, Tennessee Titans will benefit from Bud Dupree addition

Bud Dupree (Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports)
Bud Dupree (Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports) /

Heading into the 2021 offseason, the Tennessee Titans has a plan for fixing their defense, and they stuck with it. They were clearly irritated by the fact that teams threw the ball all over the yard on them. They were arguably more irritated that they couldn’t get to the other team’s quarterback with any regularity, which, when you think about it, probably explains why the teams they faced threw the ball so well against them.

Part of the plan for curing that was adding a former Pittsburgh Steelers star during the most recent free-agency period. His name? Bud Dupree. He’s a  six-foot-four, 269-pound monster off the edge that can definitely help Tennessee with that pass-rushing problem, but ever since his arrival in Nashville, and maybe even before that, he’s been dealing with something.

he isn’t getting the vote of confidence that he’s worked so hard to earn.

Dupree has been named as Tennessee Titans’ biggest potential disappointment.

There’s this belief that the main reason he’s been productive was that the Steelers had this guy by the name of T.J. Watt on the opposite side of the defensive 3-4 formation Dupree was playing in.

Perhaps that’s why Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox stated in a recent story about guys he believes are every team’s biggest potential disappointment in 2021 that Dupree is the guy Titans fans might have a little buyer’s remorse about.

Here’s some of what was said.

"The Titans desperately needed to address their pass rush after posting just 19 sacks as a team in 2020. However, they may be disappointed with what free-agent addition Bud Dupree adds to the pass rush this season. Dupree is coming off an ACL tear that he suffered in December. There’s no guarantee Dupree will be 100 percent in 2021 or that he’ll be the same player he was before the injury. The other issue is that the player Dupree was pre-injury was largely boosted by the presence of Defensive-Player-of-the-Year candidate T.J. Watt."

Okay, let’s stop right there. Sure the recent injury is a concern, but why is this guy penalized for playing on the same defense as someone who is super talented? We shouldn’t act like Dupree can’t ball though.

"Dupree had just one double-digit-sack season in Pittsburgh despite playing alongside Watt, and averaged just five sacks per season before his breakout campaign of 2019.The Titans gave him a five-year, $82.5 million deal that includes $35 million in guarantees. That’s the sort of money a team gives to a top pass-rushing option, which Dupree has never been.Dupree may eventually become a good pass-rusher for the Titans, but he may never be worth the money he received this offseason. More disappointing is the fact that his recovery may prevent Dupree from even being “good” in 2021."

Okay, the theories about whether or not Dupree can survive without T.J. Watt have to be addressed.

The Steelers added Watt to their squad in 2017. Prior to that Dupree had already been in the NFL for two seasons. Over that time, and without the benefit of having Watt as a teammate, Dupree appeared in 28 games with 14 starts. The results on 1,170 snaps (these numbers include five playoff games by the way) look like this.

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Dupree notched 71 total tackles, including 50 of the solo variety and 13 that resulted in a loss of yardage. Add that to three pass breakups, a forced fumble, and nine sacks, and it’s hard to substantiate the argument that this guy simply can’t survive without T.J. Watt

Again, Watt is super talented, and he may even qualify as someone that’s in a tier slightly above the one Bud Dupree resides in, but don’t stress too much if you’re a Tennessee Titans fan. This is a nice signing that will pay dividends for them in 2021.