It is well known the Steelers have one of the most free agents heading into the 2021 offseason. Out of all of the Steelers free agents, Arthur Moats feels Bud Dupree is the biggest free agent they could lose. I completely agree with him because Alex Highsmith is not fully developed yet to make an impact like Bud Dupree right away as a starter. It does look like Highsmith is on a faster track than Bud Dupree was when developing, but right now going into the 2021 season you would want Bud Dupree across the field from TJ Watt. No questions about it.
Moats says Bud Dupree impacts the Pittsburgh Steelers the most. More than any other free agent heading into the offseason. When Bud Dupree went down with an injury against the Ravens the Steeler's defense never looked the same the rest of the way. That is true because when Dupree went down with an ACL tear the Steelers pass rush production fell significantly. Especially on 3rd down and non-blitzes. It went down so significantly in the Steelers dropbacks, sack rate, pressure rate, pressure rate on 3rd down, and pressure rate on non-blitzes. That just shows how much TJ Watt and Bud Dupree complement each other when they're both on the field together. That is not a shot at Alex Highsmith that is just a fact.
Arthur doesn't see Alex Highsmith coming into 2021 and being Bud Dupree in his second season. He is right on the money and the sad part is some Steeler fans will grow impatient with Highsmith if he gets the starting nod going into 2021. It's going to take time for Highsmith to catch Bud Dupree in regards to production on the football field.
Moats says Highsmith is capable of filling in for Dupree, but physically there are some things he just isn't capable of doing right now that Dupree can bring to the Steelers defense. Not only does Bud Dupree help the defense when he is on the football field it also helps the offense because he creates more turnovers. Dupree will be the biggest free agent the Steelers lose in the offseason and it will be felt for a few seasons until Highsmith can catch up to the production Dupree brings.