- Eric D. Williams, ESPN San Diego Chargers reporter
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A prospect that appears to have risen up draft boards as we've gotten closer to the draft is University of Kentucky edge rusher Bud Dupree.
Teams, of course, love the numbers the workout warrior put up at the scouting combine in February. At 6-foot-4 and 269 pounds, Dupree ran a 4.56-second, 40-yard time, posted a 42-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot, 6-inch broad jump.
The San Diego Chargers could use someone like the athletic Dupree to help rush the passer. San Diego finished with just 26 sacks last season, and the Chargers have not had a double-digit pass-rusher since Antwan Barnes posted 11 sacks in 2011.
Dupree is a scheme fit, with the ability to rush the passer with his hand in the dirt and also drop in space in pass coverage. However, inconsistent production on tape has teams wondering how his game will translate in the NFL.
And Dupree could very well be gone when the Chargers select at No. 17. ESPN NFL draft guru Todd McShay has Dupree going to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 22 in his latest mock draft, while Mel Kiper Jr. gives Dupree to the Houston Texans at No. 16 in his latest mock draft.
The Chargers spoke to Dupree after his pro day in March. He finished with 23.5 career sacks at Kentucky, including 7.5 sacks his final season in 2014.
"Dupree needs to continue to improve," McShay said. "His instincts are getting better, but there are times where he's not able to go full-bore because he's still kind of diagnosing, but I think he's improved. Clearly he's a hard worker. He works hard in the film room, it's just learning how to transfer it onto the field.
"I think his take-on skills are adequate, but can improve. He has really good range against the run. His workout numbers are ridiculous. God only makes a handful of these guys, so you have the tools there to develop, there's no question about it."
McShay went on to say if you are rooting for Dupree, you hope he lands with a team that has good coaching staff and knows how to develop players.
With experienced guys on the defensive staff like linebackers coach Mike Nolan and defensive coordinator John Pagano, I believe the Chargers could be one of those teams that would get the best out of Dupree if he's available at No. 17.
If he's available at No. 17, the San Diego Chargers could use someone like the athletic Bud Dupree to help rush the passer.