I’ve done a ton of content exploring which Falcons are primed to break out in 2023, but there will inevitably be some disappointments. It’s just the nature of the game.
Though I’m confident Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Richie Grant, Troy Andersen, Arnold Ebiketie, Drew Dalman, etc. will break out in some capacity, some into stardom and others as higher level starters, there will be shortcomings. I guess you could call them busts.
Bud Dupree is not going to save the Falcons pass rush. Just ask the Tennessee Titans how that plan plays out.
The Falcons—who were last in pressure percentage last season—have taken several stabs at solving their pass rush issues over the last few seasons. Dupree is one of the latest as they gave him a modest one-year, $3 million contract to see if he can return to his form from his days with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The fact is that Dupree’s best days came with the Steelers in a blitz-heavy scheme that featured T.J. Watt. That makes production a lot easier to come by. When the Titans scheme asked him to win matchups by himself without the benefit of blitzing, he combined for just seven sacks over the last two seasons.
It doesn’t help that injuries limited him to 22 games in those seasons as well.
The continued development of Lorenzo Carter and a breakout season from Arnold Ebikitie are much more likely to help the Falcons get after the passer.
I won’t argue. There’s a reason the Titans released Dupree before finishing out the lucrative free-agent deal he signed. The former standout pass rusher struggled to stay healthy and produce at a consistent level in Tennessee. However, Ballentine has a few things confused.
The Falcons’ defense won’t rely on Dupree to win one-on-one to pressure opposing quarterbacks, which should benefit his production. Moreover, health is a major factor in this entire situation. If he can remain healthy, Dupree should have a decent season.
Also, with the Titans, Dupree had gotten paid. With the Falcons, he is trying to play his way into another free agent contract. It’s the reason he came to Atlanta instead of returning to Pittsburgh. The Falcons gave him a one-year, prove-it deal.
Bud Dupree is betting on himself in Atlanta. Nobody should expect double-digit sacks, but he should be productive. It’s not a bad choice for a bust candidate. Although, his contract doesn’t exactly allow his potentially unprosperous campaign to hurt the club very much.
Photographer: Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire