FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Falcons added more talent to their pass rush, someone with a track record of success.
Bud Dupree has signed a one-year contract to join a new-look defensive front, the team announced on Friday afternoon. Zach Klein of Atlanta-based WSB television station first reported the news.
The Macon, Ga. Native has 46.5 sacks in eight professional seasons, six with the Pittsburgh Steelers and two more with the Tennessee Titans. His best season came in 2019, when he had 68 tackles, 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. He hasn't been as impactful the last two seasons, with just seven sacks in that span.
- Official free agency signings: S Jessie Bates III, DL David Onyemata, LB Kaden Elliss, QB Taylor Heinicke, CB Mike Hughes, LB Tae Davis, WR Mack Hollins; DL Joe Gaziano, WR Scotty Miller, DL Calais Campbell, OL Josh Miles
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New Falcons defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen operated with hulking defensive fronts while in New Orleans, and he'll do so again after significant talent upgrades in that area.
While he has generally played outside linebacker in 3-4 fronts, he's a hybrid player who is big enough at 6-foot-4 and 269 pounds to play along a four-man defensive front. The Falcons have gotten significantly bigger up front this offseason, adding Calais Campbell and David Onyemata to a line that already includes Grady Jarrett and Lorenzo Carter.
It will be interesting to see how Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone will be added to the mix as well.
The Durpree addition brings pedigree to the group. A former first-round pick out of Kentucky could make a significant impact up front, as part of a rotation designed to pressure the quarterback.
This signing comes on the heels of the Jeff Okudah trade and is part of a flurry of moves designed to improve a defense that hasn't been quite good enough in recent seasons.
The Falcons have used significant salary cap space well this offseason, adding veteran talent on one-year deals to a young foundation and some higher-priced, younger signings. Expectations will surely ramp up and deservedly so after adding so much talent, as the Falcons have poured significant effort into building a bully in Atlanta.
This addition shouldn't prevent the Falcons from taking a pass rusher in the NFL Draft, including at No. 8 overall.
In other news, the Falcons released outside linebacker Quinton Bell, defensive lineman Amani Bledsoe and safety Jovante Moffatt. on Friday.