On the day I visited Smith, he had an individual session with Dupree, followed by a three-man session with veteran lineman Jarius Wynn, coming off a torn ACL suffered with the Bills last year, and Bobby Richardson of the Denver Broncos and D.J. Reader, who is coming off an impressive rookie season with the Houston Texans.
As Dupree loosened up, Smith looked over at him and said, “He’s going to be the Defensive Player of the Year next season.”
‘In college, I didn’t have any moves. I didn’t know what I was doing. I got by on my athletic ability. That doesn’t work in the NFL. You need to have more.’ Bud Dupree
That’s pretty high praise for a player with just 8½ sacks in his first two seasons.
“The kid is a freak,” Smith said.
Told what Smith said about winning DPOY next year, Dupree, who missed nine games last season after groin surgery, didn’t seem surprised.
“I believe that also,” Dupree said.
A former high-school receiver who went to Kentucky to play outside on offense, Dupree is truly clay in the hands of Smith the sculptor. Dupree was raw coming out of college, but has the tools and the speed needed to become a good pass rusher. Like so many young players, he didn’t know the tricks of the trade, which is where Smith comes into play. It’s why he first came here last spring and is back for more. It’s why he says he will always come back.
“I am still learning, and this is the place to be to do that,” Dupree said.