Browns personnel visiting OLB Bud Dupree in Kentucky


CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons personnel have visited Lexington, Kentucky, on separate days this week to meet with Kentucky Wildcats pass rusher Bud Dupree, a first-round talent.

These visits sometimes include private workouts or dinner with the prospect. Browns general manager Ray Farmer did not make the visit.

The 6-foot-4, 269-pound Dupree is an intriguing option among the cluster of top-shelf outside pass-rushers, a group that includes Florida's Dante Fowler, Missouri's Shane Ray, Clemson's Vic Beasley and Nebraska's Randy Gregory.

The 6-foot-4, 269-pound Dupree finished his senior season with 7.5 sacks, 74 tackles and an interception as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end in Mark Stoops' defense. Kentucky originally recruited Dupree as a tight end, but he never played the position for the Wildcats. He's gained a lot of muscle weight during the last two seasons. His stats aren't eye-popping, but his athleticism/upside combo is.

Like many NFL teams, the Browns cast a wide net in evaluating top prospects, having at least one personnel staffer at most high-profile pro days. Offensive coaches have visited pro days at Ohio State, Oregon and Colorado State, and possibly others.

But the Dupree visit shows the Browns are doing needed research on a position that's considered thin behind Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo. The Browns want to see the Mingo project through, and though the former No. 6 overall pick showed versatility and toughness last year while playing through a shoulder injury, he has three sacks in his last 24 NFL games. Sacks don't tell the whole story; Mingo does pressure the quarterback. Still, Kruger needs more tangible help.

The Browns could use one of their first-round picks to address that.