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How Bud Dupree Fits In Perfectly With Bolts Edge Rusher Group

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Bud Dupree had an easy decision when it came to signing with the Chargers earlier this month.

The edge rusher said Wednesday that the Bolts were a clear and attractive destination for a player with the experience like Dupree, as he fits right in with the number of veterans on the team.

Add in getting to join a Jim Harbaugh-led team and the opportunity was too good to pass up.

"Just enough familiar faces. Obviously, a new culture with [Head Coach Jim] Harbaugh coming in," Dupree said. "Being familiar with NaVorro [Bowman] and his style of play when he was in the league, as well. Continuously seeing him evolve as a coach is outstanding.

"I wanted to be part of something that is doing it from the ground up. Obviously, California, as well," Dupree added with a laugh. "It's always a good place to be in sunshine."

Having high-caliber players such as Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa in the room surely helps, too.

"Any time you have guys that have been in the league a long time as established rushers, it's always great to have guys on the field together," Dupree said. "That was kind of the 'gimme.'"

While Dupree might have never played with the star edge rushers, he has spent time studying them and watching their film over his career — just like most positions do with their peers.

Getting the chance to finally work them in 2024 is something he described as 'amazing'.

"Obviously, there will be a connection right away because of the respect level for your game is there," Dupree said. "Being able to see and hone in on who he is as a person, who they are as family people outside of football will only make it better on the field with teamwork."

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This opportunity in particular also matches the role Dupree envisions could help him contribute at a high level and extend his career.

Coming off a 6.5-sack year in 2023, Dupree played his most defensive snaps (724) since 2019. He will now fill in a rotational role coming in on certain downs and packages with Mack, Bosa and Tuli Tuipulotu.

The amount of depth in the edge group allows him to stay fresher and produce more efficiently — a benefit to both the Bolts and the career of the nine-year veteran.

"I'm at a point in my career now, too, where it's a different role for me now," Dupree said. "Being able to be a third-down guy, especially a pass rush guy — but still being able to show my worth in the run — is always a plus."

Dupree later added: "I'm just honored to be able to come here and be part of it, add my value to the team, add my value to that group as much as I can. Whatever value I can bring, I'm making sure I can do it to the best of my ability."

He's already been making his presence felt during this period of OTAs as well, as Tuipulotu has noticed what he brings to the group right away.

"I think Bud brings a lot of energy to the room," Tuipulotu said. "That's what I've been noticing in OTAs. He's always trying to — I wouldn't say hype somebody up, but say, 'Good [stuff]. Good rep.' Stuff like that.

Tuipulotu later added: "I think we're kind of stacked, you know? Adding another vet in the room just gives me more opportunity to learn from another vet. Surprisingly, he is kind of different from K-Mack and Joey B. I'm excited to continue to learn from him."

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The Chargers and Defensive Coordinator Jesse Minter will have a lot of high-level options to mix and match in the edge group once the season rolls along.

And there's no telling how good the group of Mack, Bosa, Tuipulotu and Dupree could be, as the latter believes their potential is up to them.

"It can be as good as the work that's put in," Dupree said. "We come in every day. We get the play calls first together. We go out and grind together, as a unit. We get the feel for each other, make sure that we trust each other to do each other's job.

"Man, that's when you can go out there and just play ball with your hair on fire, being able to make as many plays as you can," Dupree continued. "That's when it becomes fun, energetic and everyone feeds off it. It's exciting and something to look forward to.

"Obviously, we have to put the work in from Day 1, which we started and continues through camp," Dupree added. "When the season starts, we have to make sure that we're ready."

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