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Who the Hell Will They Draft? Memphis NT Dontari Poe

To switch from a 4-3 Cover 2 to any type or 3-4, there is one position that stands above the rest as a need. The nose tackle is something that very few 4-3 DTs have the power or size to handle. This was especially true of the Colts typical DTs. No doubt a huge (literally) upgrade is needed there.

The underwear olympics NFL Scouting Combine always has it's winners and losers. This year there was no "bigger" winner than Memphis NT Dontari Poe. A mountain of a man (6'3 1/2" 346 lbs), Poe showed speed and strength that was unexpected by many.

His performance in Indianapolis has led to what can only be described as a meteoric rise up draft boards. From a the possibility of going in the 2nd round to an almost guaranteed 1st round selection, Poe used a national stage to turn as many heads as I can remember from a combine performance.

A second team All-Conference USA honoree after last season, Poe registered 98 tackles, 21.5 TFL and 5 sacks in his three years at Memphis. His talent is above average, but it did lead to some questions for him. He has been able to get by in the Conference USA without much technique improvement over the last three years. Some question his work ethic and willingness to put in the grunt work without the "glamor" statistics.

An enigmatic prospect, Poe shows great burst on some plays and gets dominated on others. He has agility and explosion off the line but plays with a high-pad level that gets him routinely lost on film. Boom or bust is the name of the game. His body type fits with that of "Mount" Terrence Cody from the Ravens and he has played enough in multiple positions along the defensive front that he could be in a rotation early in his career. It all comes down to improving technique for this youngster.

After the jump we'll look at what the draft sites say as well as his combine numbers and my thoughts. Don't forget to check out all the potential picks on our 2012 Draft Profiles Page.

National Football Post - Dontari Poe

Has a rare physical skill set due to his combination of flexibility, power and get off burst. However, he's still learning the nuances of the position. If he's willing to put in the time, Poe can mature into one of the leagues better interior presences. Nevertheless, because he's raw his floor isn't overly high either.

Pro Football Weekly - Dontari Poe

One of the most physically gifted prospects in this year’s draft class, Poe is a "planet theory" poster boy with rare quickness, athleticism and ease of movement for his size. Could play with more snarl, but is tough and durable with big upside as a "30" front anchor. - Dontari Poe

Poe is a big man who will likely improve a 3-4 defense working as their anchor inside at NT. His best attribute is his ability to occupy space inside and allow those on the second level to flow and make plays. He isn’t just a big man to hold two blockers, however, as he can use his strength to overpower most blockers at the collegiate level and also use his athletic ability to be a threat in the passing game and make plays around the ball. Poe has the build and athleticism to be picked late in the first round or near the top of the second.

Combine Measurements-

Height Weight 40 Time Bench Vertical Broad
6'3 1/2" 346 4.98 44
29 1/2" 8'9"

Dontari Poe Combine Audio

My Thoughts for the Colts -

I'm going to take a little authorial license here and talk about Poe a little more than some of the other prospects. He has been a hot topic on this site. Some think that with his talent and physical gifts, he should have been more dominate against the weaker Conference USA schedule. Others see him as too good to pass up and worth trying to trade up to get again.

He is a player that makes me glad I am not a GM in the NFL. There are times I see him and think holy crap would he be a great fit for the Colts. Other times I watch and think, this kid is gonna bust in the NFL. I love his size, strength and speed combination. I am a 6'3" 290 lb pound man myself and to see this guy, with more size and weight than me run a sub-5.0 40 is remarkable. 44 bench reps is insane. I get tired just thinking about lifting that bar.

As I think about all this combine stuff, my mind floods back to Mike Mamula. Raise your hand if you are old enough to remember him. Mamula was the first real "workout warrior." His combine performance was the stuff of legends, including a 49 out of 50 on the Wunderlich test. The Eagles traded up with the Buccaneers to get him. The Bucs netted Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks out of the deal. Mamula spent and underwhelming 6 seasons with the Eagles and then left the NFL due to injuries. Could Poe be the next Mamula?

I guess I should wrap this up by actually forming an opinion here. The Colts have a need to fill at the 3-4 NT spot and Poe does fill that need. Is he worth trading future potential picks to get? My answer would be no. If he is there at 34 when the Colts pick in the second, I would take him, but I would not mortgage anything in the future to go get him. We need an influx of talent. The key when doing that is as many picks as possible. That's the best way to get talent at low cost. Trading up, and giving up talent in the future, is not the way to re-build. It's "value picks" that make a strong roster. Poe is a value at 34, not earlier.

Debate away. This is what makes the NFL Draft so much fun!