Welcome to another film study, Giants fans. This time, we're going to explore a player that isn't being talked about too much, but he should absolutely be in consideration for the Giants with the 9th overall pick. He is Alvin "Bud" Dupree, edge rusher from Kentucky and he is an absolute monster.
He's got a prototypical frame at 6-foot-4, 265 pounds and has all the makings of a strong pass rusher. Think the Giants might be interested in that? Let's go deeper as he and the rest of that Kentucky defense takes on Louisville (I think you might find yourselves falling in love with Devante Parker in this study as well, but that is for another time!).
As always, we'll begin with what I look for in an edge rusher:
At pre-snap, I look to see how far off the player is from the opposing offensive linemen. The infamous Wide-9 is classic for leaving defenders at least three feet lateral to the opposing tackle. The Giants will play their ends no more than one or two feet on a regular down, but will move to that wide-9 position on obvious passing situations.
I also look for the bend in the knees pre-snap. If the player's arse is too far up, he might not have that explosive first step that we all love. If he's bent over too much, he loses leverage. Ideally, you want that balance where the player is like that "coiled spring" ready to explode.
Now, this goes for both edge rushers in a two point stance (stand up like Bud Dupree) or in a three-point stance (your traditional 4-3 DE with hand on the ground).
Initial Burst to First Contact
The first step is crucial. It's the key to the rest of the play. What it essentially means is the timing and explosion off the snap to get to a certain spot and beat the offensive tackle to that spot. This sets you up in a ton of ways. For one, you can decide whether to go outside or inside and have the OT guess, and two, if you are fast enough, you can avoid the offensive tackle's punch entirely and get a clear lane to the QB. A great example was our very own Osi Umenyiora, who had the fastest first step in the NFL during his younger days. He's made his living on basically this first step where he times the snap so well, that he looks like he's offside a lot of the time. This allows him to bend around the OT and get that strip sack.
When (if) the offensive lineman hits you with that punch, I look for any bounce backwards. That lets me know what sort of base and power the defensive end has. Obviously, minimal knock back is preferred.
First Contact to the End of the Play
First thing first, I look to see if the player has his head up and recognizes whether its a run play or a pass play. They'll often start out pass rushing, or sit back in run defense/pass coverage, but that's just based on the play call. I want to see if they can adjust on the fly and close in on the running back.
If they are going to continue pass rushing, I'd like to see if they are a natural RDE or LDE. An RDE in our system is the prototype speed guy that goes up against the left tackle. By this point in the play, its all about gaining leverage. Speed rushers need to be flexible because they usually (Jason Pierre-Paul aside) aren't strong enough to push through the tackle's block. One thing I look for when they are on the tackle's outside shoulder is the angle made between their legs and the ground. The lower the angle, the better, because that means they can take a sharper cut to the QB, and the lower they are, the more difficult it is for the tackle to get their hands on the player. That bend will give the rusher the upper hand, and if he can do that consistently, it bodes quite well for the player in the future.
If you've got an LDE, you've got your power rusher. They gain leverage by physically manhandling the tackle. They make ample use of the bull rush and then try and transition that into a swim or rip move. They willfully engage in block, and they twist and push the tackle to get by them. I look for their waist and hips. If they can twist the hips fluidly while not getting pushed back, it bodes quite well for the player in the future.
For both types, another aspect to look at is hand movement. When they get engaged with the offensive line, you want to see active hands. By that, I mean, look to see if they are fighting off the engaged blocker. Power rushers will try and take on the hands, get into the shoulder pads, push forward while driving the legs, and either rip inside or outside. Speed rushers can use the hands to get enough traction to pull of a spin move, or to simply fight off any wandering hands as they try and bend around the tackle. This is precisely why arm length matters.
Finally, what I look to see is motor plays. By that, I mean, do they continue to try and navigate the wash to get to the QB if their initial foray fails? If the running back gets by them, do they hustle up field to try and get to the play? Basically, just want to see hustle and work, and see it on a consistent basis.
Like I did last year, I'll be doing this study a little differently. Along with going with the times and analyzing each play, I'll try and use a 'ProFootballFocus' grading system to come up with the player's overall grade for that game, so you guys can see not only where my thoughts are, but how exactly I'd quantify their performance on a play to play basis.
Just like PFF, this grading system goes with a maximum possible score of +2.0 for a play, to a lowest possible score of -2.0. Also just like PFF, if the player does what an "average (read: mid-round)" prospect does, that counts as a 0.0. I can guarantee, I'd never give a +2.0, nor would I give a -2.0, it'd just have to be the worst or best play ever. In any case, I've said enough about that, so let's get on with it!
0:00 - 0:23
Two plays, run and pass. Run play away from his side. Pass rush, QB sacked by Za'darius Smith too quickly for Dupree to disengage from OL. Grade: +0.0
0:24 - 0:50
Three plays, run, run, pass. Both runs away from his side. Bubble screen on his side. Shows good motor getting over to help on the tackle. Shows you athleticism to get across length of that side of the field. Grade: +0.3
0:51 - 1:16
Two plays, one pass, one run. Was late on pass rush as if he were playing contain on his side. Maintained edge so QB forced to move up in pocket where he made the tackle. On run play, again played contain, and run went away from his side. Grade: +0.0
1:17 - 1:47
Two plays, one run, pass pass. On run play, was late to crash inside and run went up the middle for big gain. Did not show quick twitch ability to collapse there, but started out wide so it's kind of unfair to blame him too much. On pass, deep throw that was intercepted. Dropped into short zone coverage. Grade: -0.1 (-0.1 run, 0.0 coverage)
1:48 - 2:11
Two plays, one run, one pass. That's how you use your athleticism to make a play! He was responsible for maintaining edge, diagnosed cut inside and exploded towards ball carrier to make a tackle for loss. Good read/react. On pass play, disappointing. Allowed OL to get under his shoulder pads, making it difficult to disengage. Needs to use length better. Grade: +0.3 (+0.7 run, -0.2 rush)
2:12 - 2:29
Two plays, both pass. On first play, Dupree does a good job of disengaging. This time, shows full arm extension and throws OL off him. QB tucks and runs too early, but again you see great motor from Dupree. Is technically a hurry as he forced the QB to run. On second play, very quick throw by QB. Grade: +0.4
2:30 - 2:55
Three plays, run, pass, run. On first run, Dupree able to get off his block and is in position to help make play. RB tackled by player next to Bud instead. Pass play, Dupree overruns QB who throws quick crosser. On the next run, Dupree helps collapse his side as it crashes to side opposite where he was lined up. Grade: -0.1 (rush -0.1, run 0.0)
2:56 - 3:17
Two plays, both pass. Dupree takes advantage of OL communication miscue and takes insider rush. Shows great short area quickness. Misses the sack! Gets the hurry and rectifies his mistake by not quitting on play and taking down the QB after short gain. On second play, gets a nice bend and beats his man off the side. QB is able to step up and get throw off, however. Grade: +0.5
3:18 - 3:30
One play. So close! Dupree had a perfect play. Burst off the edge gave him an instant leverage advantage. He was that coiled spring, and he showed that bend and those active hands. Was a milisecond too late as the QB got the throw off to a wide open Devante Parker. Dupree got a nasty hit on him, though. Grade: +0.7
3:31 - 4:04
Three plays, run, run, pass. Both runs away from Dupree, whose job was to maintain edge, which he did. On pass play, tried inside rush and was stoned. QB got quick screen off which resulted in big gain. Grade: +0.0
4:05 - 4:20
Two plays, one pass and one run. Pass play, tried delay rush and didn't work, as another quick pass negated any chance. On run play, wow. Again, you see the ability to change direction as he was in pass rush set. Almost like sacking a QB, his ability to bend and accelerate was awesome as he gets another tackle for loss. Grade: +0.7 (+0.8 run, -0.1 rush)
4:21 - 4:38
Two plays, both runs. Dupree does everything right, except make a good enough tackle on first play. Wins immediately against OL and gets good hit on Dyer, who maintains his balance just enough to get a touchdown. On second run play, he gets run to his side and gets blown off LOS. Grade: -0.3
4:39 - 5:03
Two plays, coverage and rush. He's in zone coverage, looks uncomfortable dropping back and changing directions there. Targeted in his area. QB makes hurried throw on next play that is intercepted. Grade: -0.2 (coverage -0.2, rush 0.0)
5:04 - 5:33
Three plays, run, pass, pass. Dupree does good job squeezing OT in to minimize gap for RB on his side. Unfortunately, RB able to still get through, but not Bud's fault. On both pass rushes, he tried with a move inside and came close both times. Can't call either of his rushes hurries, but give it a milisecond more and he's there. Shows good speed to power both times, especially with second pass rush. Grade: +0.4 (run +0.2, rush +0.2)
5:34 - 6:14
Four plays, pass, then three runs. On pass play, Dupree with another awesome pass rush move. Gets QB hit as he again shows off the three traits that make him a good pass rusher: burst, bend/change of direction, and hands. His hands swat away any attempt by the OL. QB just gets a quick release off to make a nice play. On all three runs, they were away from Dupree's side, who tried going backside on all of them, but never happened. Grade: +0.7 (rush +0.7, run 0.0)
6:15 - 6:41
Two plays, both runs. On first, good job of crashing on his side, but running back runs away from his side. On second play, run is in the other direction as well. He's not involved. Grade: +0.0
6:42 - 7:07
Two plays, both passes. Dupree gets a good rush on the QB. Again, just a fraction slow as his speed and bend are very good, but the QB is a hair quicker. Gets it to Devante Parker who is awesome. On second play, Dupree is stoned but again, was a quick play. Grade: +0.3
7:08 - 7:27
Two plays, both passes. First play, Dupree in coverage. Shows great awareness and stays in his zone. Takes away the easy short throw for the QB who completes a really nice one over Dupree's head instead. On the second play, great play by Dupree on pass rush. Speed to power here was great, showed fantastic strength and hands to disengage from tackle after bulling him backwards. QB sees him and tucks and runs. Dupree shows his speed and his great motor to chase him down from behind on the opposite side of where he started. Grade: +0.9 (+0.2 coverage, +0.7 rush)
7:28 - 7:52
Two plays, one pass and one run. Pass rush he simply overran it and Parker makes a huge play. The run play was weird. He's set up as if he is in coverage. Then he moves in and rushes just as the ball is snapped. Gets good penetration, but whiffs on tackle attempt. Grade: -0.1 (rush -0.1, run 0.0)
7:53 - 8:09
Two plays, both passes. On first rush, he gets too high and doesn't extend arms, which leads him to getting stoned at point of attack. On second play, great rush by Dupree because after watching that a few times, it was his sweet move inside (again, short area quickness) that caused the QB to unload the ball a tad early, causing it to sail on him. For kicks, Dupree also gets the QB hit at the end as well. Grade: +0.8
8:10 - 8:29
Two plays, one run and one pass. Run play was broken and over quickly. Pass play, Dupree did not get good jump off line, so he was out of the play. Grade: 0.0
8:30 - 8:50
One play, run. What a monstrous play. Shades of Jadeveon Clowney against Michigan. Burst off the edge, punch the ball out. Perfect form tackle for the forced fumble. He was unblocked, but Dyer was drifting away from him, so you got to see that closing speed and angle he took as well. Highlight reel play. Grade: +1.3
8:51 - 9:24
Three plays, one pass, two runs. Dropped into pass coverage on first play. Thrown away from him. Both runs away from him as well. Grade: +0.0
9:25 - 9:59
Three plays, all passes. On first rush, was double teamed and ridden away from the play. On second play, he has a nice rip move inside and closes in fast on the QB. One thing I've noticed is that when he rushes from a two-point stance, he stays a little big high and that makes it easier for OL to block him. Had he stayed a little lower, that's a sack. Regardless, a nice move to reset anyways. On the third play, his burst isn't great. He tries to use another rip move to get free but cannot do it. Grade: +0.2
10:00 - 10:48
One play, pass rush. Play of the game. Been saying it all along. Speed off the edge hurts. Combine it with short area quickness to change directions and it kills. He gave a slight head fake outside then his speed got the tackle turned around as he jet inside. Got the great bend to hit the QB's arm and get the sack and forced fumble that was returned for a touchdown. What an incredible play. Grade: +1.6
10:49 - 11:10
Two plays, one pass and one run. Dupree in man coverage on first play and actually takes away his assignment, forcing QB to look elsewhere. Decent play staying with him. On run play, nice work by Dupree to once again, maintain the edge and collapse inwards. That shows strength and leverage. He doesn't make the tackle, but he forces the running back away from his first option and gets subsequently swallowed up. Grade: +0.4 (+0.1 coverage, +0.3 run)
11:11 - 11:28
Two plays, both passes. Poor rush effort by Dupree. Looked sluggish on first play and could not fight off initial punch and engagement. On second play, good burst, but was effectively neutralized because he didn't extend his arms. Grade: -0.2
11:29 - 11:53
Two plays, one pass and one run. Dupree shifts over pre-snap and times the snap well. He forces the QB out of the pocket while being held (OL got him by the neck), but that was good straight line speed by him. On the run, it was away from him, and he did his job not allowing any cutback lanes to his side. Grade: +0.3 (rush +0.3, run 0.0)
11:54 - 12:09
Two plays, both passes. Bad technique from Bud, who bowls into the OT, again too high without arms extended. Result is he's stoned. On second play, takes bad angle off the snap. Grade: -0.2
12:10 - 12:34
Three plays, run, pass, pass. On the run, he does not lose ground as the run is to his side. However, he struggles to disengage as well to make the play. On both pass plays, he bullrushes, but the passes are too quick for him to really get a fair shot. One of those plays he was doubled as well. Grade: +0.0
12:35 - 12:50
Two plays, one pass and one run. Dupree with an outside rush, but can't get there in time as pass goes to Devante Parker for another nice catch. On run, it was away from Bud's side. Grade: +0.0
12:51 - 13:02
Two plays, both runs. The RB breaks Dupree's tackle attempt. Poor form on Dupree's end. On second play, Bud tries backside on a run away from him, but doesn't get there in time. Grade: -0.2
Game Charting and Stats
Total Snaps: 64
Total Grade: +8.7
Run Defense Snaps: 27
Run Defense Grade: +2.8
Pass Rush Snaps: 33
Pass Rush Grade: +5.8
Pass Coverage Snaps: 4
Pass Coverage Grade: +0.1
Tackles For Loss: 3
Forced Fumbles: 2
QB Sacks: 1
QB Hits: 3
QB Hurries: 4
Yes, I think that +8.7 grade is my legitimate view of how well Dupree showed this game. He showed consistency when it came to his speed right off the snap, his bend was (for the most part) fantastic, and his hand work was sublime. What really impressed me, however, was how this 6-foot-4, 265-pound monster can change directions so quickly. That short area quickness translated into almost all of his pressures. His hip flexibility and foot speed allowed him to not only get those devastating inside pass rushes and into the QB's face, but also allowed him to make several of those highlight reel tackles on the running back in the backfield.
This was also frustrating to watch Dupree as well. I don't think he was used to the best of his ability at Kentucky. He was mostly used as an outside linebacker. He dropped into coverage only four times, but that should honestly still be zero. He seems decent at it, but you are wasting his ability on those four plays. He's the prototype length you want from a LEO if you like him as stand up rusher and move him around or as a 9-technique RDE if you want his hand in the ground.
That versatility will make him much more of a useful player. I personally see him closer to the line of scrimmage and let him get his hand on the ground every play. It minimizes his distance away from the QB, and with the blend of burst and bend that he has, he could be a whirlwind on the edge. That being said, if the Giants wanted to move him from side to side and let him attack on stunts, he's shown equal ability there as well.
The negatives in his pass rush game are some technique issues. He allows his pad level to rise more often than I'd like, and that's often after he rushes from a two-point stance. He also struggles consistently using his length to his advantage, often times letting opponents get into his body and not allowing him to disengage.
The final piece that I'd like to point out on him was the surprisingly good run defense in this game. He set the edge very well in most of the run plays. It also seemed like Louisville went out of it's way to run away from his side. He showed intelligence and awareness for being disciplined enough in his assignments and that will go a long way. The only real negatives are that he's naturally not a stout player, so he'll get blown off the line of scrimmage at times. He, like as a pass rusher, won't be able to get off blocks consistently and that could be a big disadvantage against the run.
When all is said and done, after processing this game (and five others .. .thanks draftbreakdown and my dvr!), I'm fairly comfortable giving Alvin Dupree a top 12 grade in this year's draft. His draft range could be anywhere from top 5 to top 20 and I wouldn't be surprised. After Randy Gregory, I think because of where he wins, his length, and his size, Dupree should be the next pass rusher on the Giants' board. Yes, I think he over Shane Ray as well. Dupree is the prototype and I think a good comparison for his game is Robert Quinn. Let's hope if the Giants draft him that he can emulate Quinn's production as well.