Carolina Panthers: 4 free agents for wish list on defense in 2021

(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) Bud Dupree
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) Bud Dupree /
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Bud Dupree, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images) Bud Dupree /

OLB. PITTSBURGH STEELERS. BUDDUPREE. 1. player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. 55

Carolina Panthers Target No. 1: Bud Dupree (OLB)

Bud Dupree is lived up to expectations and more during his time in the NFL. The former first-round pick is a huge part of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense. And he will be a hot commodity on the free-agent market next spring if the team cannot come to an agreement with the player.

Putting Dupree opposite Shaq Thompson at the outside linebacker position has the scope to cause some real damage behind a strong-looking defensive front with the Carolina Panthers. Who fills this role next season has a chance to win the job long-term. But if the Steeler did become available. It would be foolish of the organization not to at least explore the possibility.

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Dupree put together the best season of his career in 2019. He was a relentless force on the edge for a Pittsburgh defense that was exceptional down the stretch. And this resulted in the player securing 11.5 sacks, 49 solo tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 17 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles, and three pass deflections.

Getting this sort of production from Dupree was a significant achievement from the Steelers’ coaching staff. And it could be the springboard he needs to take his game to new heights in the future.

Players normally produce that little bit extra in a contract year as they go in search of another payday. So the chances of Dupre matching or even exceeding his 2019 production appear high.

This would give him substantial leverage ahead of his free agency experience. And there will be plenty of teams calling to try and acquire his services.