Bud Dupree says he's climbing draft boards on own merit

CHICAGO -- Bud Dupree is considered among the fastest risers in the 2015 NFL Draft, but when it comes to the reason for his ascent, the former Kentucky star pass rusher doesn't want to hear about Shane Ray and Randy Gregory. Ray and Gregory were once considered likely top-10 picks at the same position, but after Gregory failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine and Ray was cited for marijuana possession earlier this week, the teams in need of a pass rusher in the first round could be looking elsewhere.

However, Dupree believes his draft position has come on its own merit.

"I think it was going to happen anyway, in due time," Dupree told CFB 24/7 on Wednesday at an NFL Play 60 event. "... I feel like it's more about me, being the player I am on and off the field."

Now, all six NFL Media mock drafts project Dupree to be drafted no later than No. 13 overall, and analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Lance Zierlein have him going No. 6 overall to the New York Jets. At 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, he is bigger than the other pass rushers considered first-round possibilities, and has the potential to play more of a three-down role as a result.

He also has a clean record from a character standpoint.

"I try to go about my business the right way," he said.

But while Dupree recognizes the fact that his name is a hot one entering the draft, he doesn't necessarily believe Gregory and Ray have seen their stocks go cold.

"I really don't think the things those guys did is going to affect their draft status as much as people think," Dupree said. "They're still top-tier guys and they still are going to be first-round picks, too. Everybody makes mistakes."

Dupree said he expects to be picked in the top half of Round 1. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Jets, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints are among the teams in greatest need of a pass rusher with a pick that high.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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