Breakdown: Steelers Select Alvin Dupree

Everything you need to know about the Pittsburg Steelers’ first-round selection of outside linebacker Alvin Dupree out of Kentucky from Scout's college and pro football experts.


Awaiting Image
Alvin Dupree
Kentucky / 6'4 / 269 lbs
  • DE
  • [1] #22

Analysis

Dupree was recruited to Kentucky to play tight end, eventually transitioning to the other side of the ball. This past season he recorded 74 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 12.5 tackles for a loss for the Wildcats. Dupree tested off the charts. At 6-foot-4, 269-pounds, he ran 4.56 [forty], had a vertical jump of 42-inches and a broad jump of 138-inches. Those are outstanding numbers combined with good production in Lexington. Dupree is an outstanding talent with tremendous upside. He looks like an ideal ‘SAM’ linebacker in a 3-4 defense.

Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation

While the Steelers need secondary help they could also use another pass rusher. Not only did they get that in Kentucky’s Alvin Dupree, he could turn out to be the steal of the first round. Dupree was recruited to Kentucky to play tight end, eventually transitioning to the other side of the ball. This past season he recorded 74 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 12.5 tackles for a loss for the Wildcats. Dupree tested off the charts. At 6-foot-4, 269-pounds, he ran 4.56 [forty], had a vertical jump of 42-inches and a broad jump of 138-inches. Those are outstanding numbers combined with good production in Lexington. Dupree is an outstanding talent with tremendous upside. He looks like an ideal ‘SAM’ linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Dupree has a chance to be something special.

The Southeastern Conference’s active career leader with 23.5 sacks, Alvin Dupree fell 1.5 sacks short of tying Oliver Barnett (1986-89) for the school record. Called one of the “five best freaks” in college football by NFL.com, he ranked second on the team with 74 tackles this season, adding 7.5 sacks, 12.5 stops-for-loss and two forced fumbles. He’s held runners to 125 yards on 65 carries directed at him, taking fifteen opponents down for losses and three more for no gain vs. the ground game in 2014.

Nicknamed “Bud,” the strong-side end has added over forty pounds to his frame since he arrived on campus as a 229-pound tight end recruit in 2011. He delivered 247 tackles with 23.5 sacks and 37.0 stops-for-loss since he became a Wildcat, in addition to causing four fumbles, with each being followed by a UK scoring drive.

Dupree is able to redirect with no wasted motion and demonstrates proper knee bend and balance to be effective as a bull rusher. He is slippery getting through trash and has the straight-line burst to surprise a lethargic offensive tackle. He generates a quick first step to gain penetration and the agility and balance to pressure the pocket. He is relentless in pursuit and has that first step that allows him to greatly affect pass protection coverage.

The Wildcat is more effective taking the long loop off the edge to pressure the pocket that when charging up the middle. Because of his size, he is susceptible to the combo blocks and while he has good arm strength, he will struggle to shed. He has no problems vs. plays directed at him, but because of size issues, he has to remain active with his hands in order to disengage from blocks.

Dupree has good quickness, enough to possibly play outside linebacker in a 3-4 base defense. It is his all-out hustle that makes him look mush faster in his backside pursuit. He has good agility and balance on the move and adequate change of direction agility, but shows some hip stiffness when having to move suddenly. He accelerates into the back-field with good urgency and has the strength to jolt a blocker much bigger than him.

Dupree has an athletic build with long arms, broad shoulders, good bubble and leg thickness, but he might be asked to add more bulk, if he is to remain at defensive end. He has valid foot speed and the loose hips to be effective in pass coverage and could be a better fit as a strong-side outside linebacker in a 3-4 system due to these physical attributes.

He stays low in his pads and generates the burst and power needed to leverage and has the hip snap to redirect and flatten quickly. His low center of gravity and explosiveness off the snap can surprise the blocker before the opponent has a chance to react. He has the initial step to reach the edge and the lateral agility to shoot the inside gaps.

His impressive physical skills are his best assets, but there are times when he fails to react in that split second edge rushers are noted for. He is still a raw product who needs time to digest plays, especially vs. the run (see Tennessee game). He is slow to locate the ball when working through trash and is best when just allowed to pursue off the edge rather than get involved on inside run plays.

His upper body strength is valid, but because of size limitations, they are not utilized on every down when having to work in-line. Dupree’s ability to flatten and change direction makes him more effective playing down the line or in backside pursuit. He will get washed out vs. inside plays and does not have the bulk to shoot the gaps, especially when he fails to keep his hands within the framework to better protect his body from low blocks.

The Wildcat flashes the ability to come underneath and make the play, but tends to get high in his stance and lacks the weight to hold his ground. He has an adequate anchor vs. double teams because of his narrow base and relies more on his speed to defeat blocks. He has the ability to slip and avoid the slower offensive tackles, but when he fails to get proper hand placement, it gets him stymied in attempts to shed and disengage when working past in-line blockers.

Dupree has excellent lateral pursuit skills and shows a quick burst when closing. He takes good angles to the ball and does a very good job of collision-tackling when on the move. He moves well to contain the toss sweep and is very quick to change directions. He flashes above average closing speed off the edge and keeps his feet when running long distances.

As a senior, he showed a more violent tackling nature, perhaps due to the hard work he put into the offseason program that saw him add more than fifteen pounds of muscle to his frame while improving his overall quickness. He has good strength behind his hits, but marginal hand usage, However when he keeps his arms “short” it leaves his chest too exposed for the reach block and fails to use them effectively to shed. On the move, he is more effective, as he shows good consistency yanking ball carriers to the ground in the second level. His hand problems come at the line, where has still not developed ideal discard quickness.

Dupree has a natural feel for the rush lanes. He has the hip flexibility to turn quickly and the knee bend to redirect. He shows good body control and a relentless motor in backside pursuit and consistently pressures the pocket. He does not have the bulk to push the blocker into the quarterback, but has a great forward burst of speed.

He closes in a flash and explodes behind his hits when working in the short area. How-ever, if he is blocked initially, he is usually tagged, as he does not have an array of pass rush moves or hand placement to be a threat once he is contained. He is best served when he can surprise the blocker with his sudden burst off the snap.

Dupree has the ability to change direction immediately closing on the quarterback. He demonstrates good knee bend and stays low in his pads to work down the line fluidly. He has the lower body strength to gain leverage and the loose hips to stay tight on the receiver when working the short area passing game, making him a nice fit for the “Sam” spot in a 3-4 base defense. He also takes good angles to the ball and has excellent acceleration turning the corner.

Alvin Dupree NFL Scouting Combine measurables


6-4/269 (4.56 forty)
32 5/8-inch arm length
9 3/4-inch hands
42-inch vertical jump
138-inch broad jump
7.64 3 cone drill
4.65 20 yard shuttle
11.81 60 yard shuttle

Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.

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