BATON ROUGE, La. — As cool as it would be if he could, Malachi Dupre can’t change the past. Unfortunately.
A former 5-star recruit, the wide receiver joined the LSU football team in 2014 alongside burgeoning stars Leonard Fournette and Jamal Adams. They supposed to usher in a new golden age of LSU football. Although unable to bring a championship to Baton Rouge, Fournette and Adams parlayed their high-school notoriety into professional notoriety. Both are expected to be top-10 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, which begins April 27.
As for Dupre? Well, Dupre never quite put things together in the way that Fournette and Adams did. In three years in Baton Rouge, Dupre was never named first-team All-SEC like Adams nor was a first-team All-American like Fournette. He was just an average wide receiver, catching 98 passes for 1,609 yards and 14 touchdowns in a borderline-underwhelming career.
Because of this, observers were surprised that Dupre decided to declare for the NFL draft when he had a season of college eligibility remaining. But Dupre doesn’t regret a thing. After all, there’s no sense in regretting that which can’t be changed.
“If I was unsure or uncertain, I wouldn’t have left,” Dupre said. “It’s a huge step. You can’t go back. But I will say looking back now I feel like it was the best decision for me.”
Thanks to his prototypical 6-foot-2, 197-pound frame and his impressive blend of speed and nimbleness, Dupre is projected as a second- or third-round pick despite his lack of college production. That said, Dupre knows the questions that surround him. When asked what he thought was the biggest concern NFL teams might have about him, the New Orleans native didn’t stutter before bringing up his lack of involvement in LSU’s offense.
But he has an answer for those concerns. It might not be the flashiest answer, but it is the right one.
“We had a great team filled with great players,” Dupre said. “Everyone had the ball. Obviously we had great running backs between Leonard and Derrius [Guice]. We had other great receivers. Everyone had to touch the ball. We were just a team where we ran the ball more than we passed it. The coaches felt like that was the best thing for us to do to win football games. You can’t question that.”
Booking Malachi Dupre
NFL teams do seem to be interested in Dupre. He might be a relative unknown compared to first-round prospects such as Western Michigan’s Corey Davis — who caught one fewer pass in 2016 alone than Dupre did in his three seasons at LSU combined — but Dupre has meetings set with the New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers leading up to the draft. Other meetings are likely.
Those three teams hold four picks between the middle of the second round and the beginning of the third round, making them all legitimate options for Dupre. But it doesn’t matter if Dupre ends up with his hometown Saints, their division rivals in Carolina, the worst team in football in Cleveland or any team. He just wants to play “amongst great players” and be given the opportunity to compete.
And if he’s given that opportunity with a second- or third-round pick, that’s a bonus.
“I’m confident that I’m worth that, for sure,” Dupre said. “I feel I’ve done enough to prove that. We’ll see later this month how a team feels.”