There are quite a few parallels between Bud Dupree and Dante Fowler. Both pass-rushers were first-round picks in the 2015 NFL Draft. They were also both generally regarded as busts until 2019, when they both broke out with an 11.5-sack season.
While Fowler and Dupree could each receive the franchise tag, they will be some of the most sought-after free agents if they hit the open market. So with that in mind, let's break down which pass-rusher would be the better signing this offseason.
Dante Fowler Free Agency
With 11.5 sacks, Fowler set a new career-high in 2019. While he had never finished with more than 8.0 sacks, he's been pretty productive since joining the Los Angeles Rams. He only mustered 2.0 sacks in eight games in 2018, but he was really impactful during their 2018 Super Bowl run, tallying 1.5 sacks and 3 QB hits across three postseason games.
He seemed to make the proverbial leap in 2019, finishing with the ninth-best pass-rush win rate among all edge rushers. This past season was the first year he put it all together, but Fowler has consistently flashed big-time talent since entering the league. Given that he was once the No. 3 overall pick in 2015, he's likely to command a huge salary this offseason.
Bud Dupree Free Agency
Dupree was the Pittsburgh Steelers' second-best pass-rusher this past season, but it was the first time he ever really produced at a consistent level. Prior to this past year, Dupree had never racked up more than 6.0 sacks in a single season.
He also only recorded 28 pressures, seven less than Fowler. In fact, of the 12 defenders to have racked up at least 11.5 sacks, Dupree is the only one to not have recorded at least 34 pressures. Dupree is obviously a talent, as his first-round pedigree would suggest, but his inconsistent production combined with some concerning advanced metrics could make him a risky investment.
It's also fair to knock both pass-rushers down a peg, given the fact that each plays alongside a truly elite pass-rusher (Aaron Donald and T.J. Watt).
But at the end of the day, Fowler has shown flashes more consistently than Dupree, and likely has a better chance of maintaining that high-level production going forward.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.