Dontari Poe

Draft Grades: Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs gambled early and often in this class, focusing on players with high upside despite minimal on-field production in college. It’s a bold strategy, and Scott Pioli is putting his job on the line. If these draft classes don’t pan out, he’ll be on the hot seat in a year or two.

Dontari Poe is a classic boom-or-bust prospect. It’s impossible to overlook his measurables, but it’s equally tough to ignore his lack of production at Memphis. The Chiefs could prove to be an ideal landing spot for him though. Romeo Crennel has a strong track record developing nose tackles, working with Vince Wilfork in New England and Shaun Rogers in Cleveland. He’s a true player’s coach, and should be able to keep Poe motivated.

Jeff Allen was considered a 2nd-round pick by many, but it feels like a reach to me. He primarily played tackle at Illinois, rotating between left and right tackle in every game. That type of versatility is intriguing, but his athleticism is limited and he’ll be limited to right tackle or guard at the next level. I’d be more comfortable with the selection of Allen if he filled a need, but the Chiefs don’t appear to have any immediate openings on the offensive.

Donald Stephenson has the measurables to play left tackle in the pros but he, like Poe, showed limited production in college. Given his upside, the Chiefs will likely groom him behind Branden Albert. He may take a year or two to reach his full potential, but he does have a chance to take over a starting job down the road.

Devon Wylie is an elite deep threat, who was a solid value in the 4th round. He’s as fast and explosive as any receiver in this class and has the potential to make an impact in a limited role immediately, and potentially on special teams as well. However, Wylie also has an extensive injury history and has struggled to stay on the field.

De’Quan Menzie played corner at Alabama but is a candidate to shift to free safety in the pros. He lacks the speed to be consistently effective in coverage, but does have the size and ability in run support to play safety. However, the Chiefs secondary is crowded. He’ll need to prove his worth on special teams in order to win a roster spot.

The selection of Cyrus Gray was questionable, even the 6th round. While there’s no denying he was worthy of a 6th-round pick, it’s tough to see how he fits into the Chiefs plan. Peyton Hillis, Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster are guaranteed roster spots, which makes Gray a long shot to make the final roster cut.

Jerome Long is a developmental prospect. He’ll likely be moved to to end in the Chiefs 3-4 defense but he’ll have to fight with Brandon Bair and others for a spot on the roster.

Junior Hemingway is a decent developmental prospect in the 7th round. He has the measurables and turned in some impressive workouts this offseason. He has limited experience in a pro-style offense, however, which limited his growth as a receiver. He’s definitely a candidate to be one of the steals from the 7th round.

Like their 1st-round pick, this was a boom-or-bust draft class for the Chiefs. Poe is the only prospect who will start immediately, and even he is developmental propsect who may struggle early on his career. While this draft class has the potential to produce three or four starters, there are no slam dunks. This could prove to be a critical draft class for Scott Piolo. Either he hits a home run and the Chiefs become serious contenders, or each of these prospects fails to live up their potential and Pioli finds himself on the hot seat.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Chiefs, Draft Grades - 2012 1 Comment

Kansas City Chiefs select Dontari Poe, Grade B

The Kansas City Chiefs are rolling the dice on Dontari Poe, but I love the fit.

Poe didn’t play like a top-15 pick last year, but he absolutely has the size/athleticism combo to be a stud at nose tackle. While I wouldn’t be crazy about some other teams taking him this high, I trust Romeo Crennel to groom him into a quality nose tackle. Crennel worked with Vince Wilfork early in his career, and got briefly rejuvenated Shaun Rogers career by turning him into a nice tackle in Cleveland as well.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Chiefs Comments Off

Dontari Poe scouting report

Dontari Poe DT Memphis #74
Ht: 6’4″

Wt: 330

 
Strengths:
Elite size and strength. Built like a prototypical nose tackle. Surprising athleticism for his size. Will make more plays in pursuit that you’d expect from a nose tackle. Strong lower body allows him to hold his ground against double teams. Impressive motor; has the ability to get back up after being knocked down and continue fighting – a rare quality for a guy his size. Appears to have excellent stamina.
Weaknesses:
Not a threat to get after the quarterback. Mixes in some moves (swim, rip) but primarily relies on pure strength to fight his way into the backfield, which won’t work as consistently at the next level. Hasn’t been tested consistently against top competition.
Comments:
Players of Poe’s size are limited in terms of upside, but they’re extremely valuable due to the scarcity of prospects with his size, strength and athleticism. He compares favorably to Phil Taylor, but lacks some of Taylor’s ability as a pass rusher. At the next level Poe will likely be a pure space eater who doesn’t show up on any highlight reels, but any 3-4 team looking for an upgrade at nose tackle should have him high on their wish list.
Videos:
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Comments Off

How Colts defensive switch impacts draft

The Indianapolis Colts are one of the few teams that haven’t at least tinkered with the 3-4 defense in recent years. But that’s about to change.

The hiring of Chuck Pagano from the Ravens means the Colts defensive philosophy will change, as Pagano has already stated he is bringing Baltimore’s hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense with him.

While this does mean changes will be coming, it might not be as drastic a change as you may assume. For starters, over the past few years the Ravens have actually lined up in a base 4-3 defense more often than their 3-4. Assuming Pagano sticks with this strategy, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis (assuming he’s re-signed) won’t need to make significant adjustments.

What the Colts do need, however, is a true nose tackle for those instances where they line up in a standard 3-4. Antonio Johnson could probably fill that role if absolutely necessary, but he isn’t a true space-eater like Pagano had in Baltimore with Terrence Cody

Obviously the Colts won’t be addressing this need in the 1st round, but there are a few options for them in round two or three:

1. Dontai Poe, Memphis – As the consensus top-rated nose tackle, there’s a decent chance Poe comes off the board in the 1st round. If he does slide to the 2nd round, however, he should be high on the Colts draft board.

2. Josh Chapman, Alabama – Chapman would be a slight reach at the top of round two, but would be a nice fit in Indianapolis. He has experience in the 3-4 defense at Alabama, which would make his transition to the NFL fairly easy.

3. Alameda Ta’amu, Washington – Ta’amu is more likely to be an option for the Colts in the 3rd round. He’s limited athletically, and more of a true space-eater who won’t be a three-down lineman at the next level.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Colts Comments Off