4 scenarios of how the Steelers could replace Bud Dupree

Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers guard David DeCastro Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Anthony Zettel Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

Option 2: Anthony Zettel

Of the unsigned free agents out there, the Steelers could sign Anthony Zettel, DE. The Lions drafted Zettel in the 6th round in 2016 from Penn State. He is 6’4” and 275 pounds. He also played with San Francisco in their loss to the Chiefs in Superbowl LIV.   So he is a veteran and has some quality playing time, though not a lot. In this case, Pittsburgh does not need a former five-time all-pro to solve their problem; they just need someone who can put pressure on the quarterback as Dupree did. If Zettel can do this for the Steelers, then sure, it makes sense.

While anything is possible, this scenario seems to be the most improbable. For starters, the Rooney’s, nor coach Tomlin worry and make knee jerk reactions. Nor do they throw a boatload of cash at players to solve a problem quickly, like Jerry Jones. So, in this case, rushing out and signing Zettel seems improbable.

First, he is a defensive end. Fairly heavy if they want to use him as a linebacker. Then again, Jachai Polite is almost 260 pounds and is an edge rusher for the Rams. Cameron Wake, at 263 pounds played end and linebacker for Miami. So, sure the Steelers could utilize him as an edge rusher. Although logic would dictate the Steelers would opt to sign a linebacker rather than another end. Nonetheless, if he helps the pass rush or lessens the number of rushing yards the Steelers have allowed recently, then surely the Steelers should consider him. That said, Zettel has a rather sub-par resume.  Since 2016 he only has 51 solo tackles and 76 combined tackles. Though in his best season, 2017, he had 6.5 sacks.

On the one hand, sure, Zettel could help the Steelers, on the other only marginally. One would think the Steelers would fair better putting their trust in Alex Highsmith. At least they know what they have with him, plus Highsmith is a rookie and will only get better with more playing experience. However, if the Steelers do decide they want to sign Zettel they have a minor hurdle.

First, he is in the Saint’s practice squad. Secondly, knowing the Steelers are having defensive issues, the Saints could opt to protect Zettel to prevent the Steelers from signing him. Since the Saints are 9-2, they stand a decent chance of winning the NFC Championship game. Thus if the Steelers win out in the AFC, they could face each other. So it could be conceivable the Saints try to prevent Zettel from signing with the Steelers for that reason alone.

So assuming this is not a plausible scenario. Two others could possibly solve Pittsburgh’s short term issue of losing Dupree and Bush as well.