Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton was tasked with coming up with one trade proposal for all 32 NFL teams and his idea for the Tennessee Titans may be one of the worst ideas I have ever seen.
Sometimes writers will come up with trade proposals where a team sends a premium pick away for a player that rounds out a position group perfectly. However, Wharton proposed that the Titans trade away a player that fits them perfectly while also giving up a premium draft pick.
In his story, he says that the Titans should send Bud Dupree and a 2nd round pick to the Chicago Bears for…cap space? You can read it if you would like, but here is the main point that he tries to drive home:
“Dupree was a complete nonfactor in his first season with the Titans. He totaled 17 tackles and three sacks in 11 games. Even at his best in Pittsburgh, he was a complementary rusher to T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward. Tennessee was reckless and misevaluated Dupree’s talent.”
The problem with the analysis is that it comes from someone who has clearly didn’t watch the Tennessee Titans play defense last year.
See, the Titans’ defense was at its best when they lined up Harold Landry, Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, and Bud Dupree in their four-man front and allowed them to use twists, stunts, and games to disrupt the quarterback.
Since the Tennessee Titans rarely bring blitzes or additional pressure, having a front four that can move in tandem is crucial because those four need to beat at least five blockers to create pressure, sacks, and turnovers.
If you box score scout instead of watching the games, it does look like Dupree didn’t have much of an impact. However, if you go back and watch the games, you can see that isn’t true.
Teaching Tennessee Titans 101
If you need to explain this to someone who only looks at stats, here is a great way to explain Bud Dupree’s impact on the defense.
Last year the Tennessee Titans played 17 regular-season games and 1 playoff game, and there is a clear difference in how effective the pass rush was in those games depending on whether Bud Dupree was playing or not.
In the 11 games last year when Bud Dupree was active, the Tennessee Titans averaged 3.5 sacks per game. However, in the other 7 games, the Tennessee Titans averaged just 2 sacks per game.
The Tennessee Titans finished their 18 games with 52 sacks, but if Bud Dupree was healthy and the pass rush continued to perform at that rate then the defense was on track for 63 sacks over that same stretch.
You can also see how his presence led to more turnovers created by the defense as well.
Last year in the 11 games where Dupree played the Tennessee Titans created 1.5 turnovers per game compared to 1.1 turnovers per game in the games where Dupree was recovering from his ACL injury.
So in short, no the Titans shouldn’t trade Bud Dupree, but if they did they should be the team seeking a 2nd round pick instead of a team giving up a 2nd round pick. Just because his impact doesn’t show up right next to his name on the box score, doesn’t mean that he isn’t making an impact on this defense.
Now that he appears back to being 100%, the odds are good that the Tennessee Titans will get even more out of him in 2022 than they did in 2021 (both directly and indirectly). If that is true, the only thing worse than an article about why the Titans should trade Bud Dupree would be if the Titans actually traded Bud Dupree.