Bud Dupree has spoken to 49ers, Bengals, Chargers

Count the San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers among the NFL teams that have shown draft interest in Kentucky pass rusher Bud Dupree, who went through the Wildcats' pro-day event on Thursday.

Dupree named those teams and has met with others, as well, but could not recall the full list, according to Jen Smith of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader. According to another account of Dupree's interview rounds the Atlanta Falcons, who are in dire need of a pass rusher, are one of the others.

The 49ers (No. 15), Chargers (No. 17) and Bengals (No. 21) select within six picks of each other in the first round, by which time several elite pass rushers other than Dupree are already expected to be gone. The Falcons pick at No. 8, at which point Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff should have a much better opportunity for a pass rusher such Missouri's Shane Ray or Clemson's Vic Beasley.

Dupree didn't go through all of the testing at the UK pro day, as he turned in an impressive performance at the NFL Scouting Combine three weeks ago. Dupree logged a 4.56 40-yard dash, a 42-inch vertical jump, and pretty much met the high combine expectation he set for himself as far back as last summer. While Dupree proved to be one of the most athletic prospects available, he isn't generally considered among the elite pass rushers in this draft class -- including Ray, Beasley, Florida's Dante Fowler and Nebraska's Randy Gregory.

Still, he is projected as a first-round draft pick by all four NFL Media analysts who have published mock drafts, as high as No. 19 to the Cleveland Browns. The Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 22 and the Dallas Cowboys at No. 27 are Dupree's other NFL.com mock projections.

After the workout, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops offered a glowing endorsement of Dupree.

"Bud brings an awful lot of value to a team," Stoops said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. "The biggest thing is he's a great person, a great team player. Everybody, no matter what organization you're in, you need good people in the locker room and that are competitive and want to win. And he's a winner. He's a great guy, great leader, but he's extremely versatile. You've heard me talk about it over and over again, but he is. He's a guy that brings great value because for us, he could have played Sam (strongside linebacker), Mike (middle), Will (weakside) or Jack (end/outside hybrid). Or if we were in four down, he could have played either end. That's the truth, and he could play it at an All-SEC level. If you can play at the SEC and play at a high level at all those positions, I think there's definitely a good spot for you in the NFL. I think that's just seeing which team what's to go in on him as high as they do, but I'm sure he is not going to last long."

Dupree also said he is among the players who have received an invitation to Chicago from the NFL to attend the draft in person.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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