‘Tis the season of offseason predictions, and Bleacher Report (B/R) predicted edge rusher Bud Dupree to be the biggest bust for the Atlanta Falcons this season.
“The Falcons—who were last in pressure percentage last season—have taken several stabs at solving their pass rush issues over the last few seasons. Dupree is one of the latest as they gave him a modest one-year, $3 million contract to see if he can return to his form from his days with the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
A big bust is a player that comes with big expectations. Dupree is an odd choice considering the mentioned $3-million contract. The Titans signed Dupree to a 5-year, $82.5-million contract in 2021 with $35 million guaranteed.
The Titans wanted Dupree to replicate his Steelers form when he had 19.5 sacks combined in 2019 and 2020.
The modest contract from the Falcons indicates modest expectations. The Falcons added Dupree as a veteran depth piece. If he can be an upgrade on Ade Ogundeji’s 42 tackles and two sacks in 16 starts, he’ll have earned his money.
If you’re going to choose a bust candidate for the Falcons, you need to swing higher than a reserve edge rusher making $3 million on a one-year deal.
How about Kyle Pitts?
Pitts had an excellent rookie season when he became the second tight end to break 1,000 yards in his first season. He fell off dramatically in year two with just 356 yards in 10 games before he was lost for the season with a knee injury.
The Falcons made him the highest drafted tight end in history with the No. 4 overall pick in 2021. He has 1,382 yards and three touchdowns in two years with the Falcons. If he were to only split the difference between his first two seasons and get 700 yards and a touchdown, that would still be considered disappointing.
Pitts is expected to have a much better year in 2023 with more help around him with the likes of Drake London, Bijan Robinson, and Cordarrelle Patterson. Desmond Ridder is expected to be a much more productive quarterback than Pitts had with Marcus Mariota.
Bud Dupree won’t be considered a bust no matter his production with the Falcons. He’s a low risk, high reward signing.
However, Kyle Pitts needs to meet expectations this season to avoid the ‘B-word’ being thrown around at season’s end.