Nose Tackle/Defensive Tackle
Draft board overall prospect rank: #34
Draft board nose tackle rank: #1
Overall rating: 80 (borderline 1st/2nd round)
40 time: 4.87
· Massive (6-4 346)
· Exceptional athleticism for his size
· Moves extremely well for his size
· Amazing 40 time for his size (4.87 with 1.68 10 yard split)
· Incredibly strong
· Stout at the point of attack
· Incredibly hard to move
· 44 reps of 225 on the bench (led the way)
· Good straight line speed
· Rare size to play 3-4 nose tackle
· Versatile enough to play 4-3 defensive tackle or 5-technique in a 3-4
· Great against the run
· The ability to become a good pass rusher
· Frequently double teamed
· A big shield who opens things up for other guys
· Keeps himself in excellent physical shape (not a nose tackle you’ll have to worry about ballooning to 370)
· Huge upside
· Durable, doesn’t get winded
· Lack of production (2009: 27 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks, 2010: 41 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 2 sacks, 2011: 33 tackles, 8 for loss, 1 sack)
· Played in a weak conference
· Struggled against tougher opponents (did not play well against Mississippi State)
· Played on an absolutely awful team in a weak conference (5 wins in 3 years)
· Questionable motor
· Does take some plays off
· Does not live up to his measurables
· Not as quick as he is straight line fast
· Questionable change of direction ability
· Struggled in some of The Combine agility drills
· A project
· Raw as a pass rusher
· A projection to a 3-4 scheme
· Short arms (31 5/8 inches)
NFL Comparison: Albert Haynesworth
Dontari Poe is a really polarizing prospect. After his amazing Combine, a lot of people called him the best defensive tackle in this draft class and mocked him 9th to Carolina, who really needs a defensive tackle. His Combine was simply amazing. 346 pounders aren’t supposed to move like him, running a 4.87 with a 1.68 10 yard split with 44 reps on the bench press.
I didn’t mock him to Carolina, instead putting Fletcher Cox there after his underrated Combine. The 6-4 300 pound Cox ran in the high 4.7s and had a better 10 yard split than Poe and was much better in the agility and change of direction drills than Poe. Cox was the more productive player in a much tougher conference and he had much better change of direction and quickness, whereas Poe is more straight line fast.
The consensus has caught up to this. Cox is now seen as the top defensive tackle in this draft class and 9 to Carolina is now his floor. Tampa Bay at 5 and St. Louis at 6 could be interested and if he slips past them, Philadelphia will be working the phones to move up to 7 to grab him ahead of Carolina. Poe, meanwhile, has begun to slip as teams have gone back and watched the tape of him and reports are coming out that the NFL is not as high on him as the media. He could slip into the 20s, though I doubt Pittsburgh would let him get past them at 24. They need a nose tackle and they may see themselves as capable of getting the most out of him (and rightfully so given their history defensively).
Poe is really a boom or bust prospect and I would be really scared to use a first round pick on him. I have him right outside the first round. He’s got a decent motor and work ethic, but he’s just so raw. This is a kid with 5 sacks in 3 years on a Conference USA team that had 5 wins in his 3 years there. He struggled against BCS opponents like the SEC’s Mississippi State. He’s a project and he could be worth it, but I’d let someone else take him in the first. In the 2nd round, I probably jump on him because you’re looking at guys you can wait a year or so on.
The comparison I make is Albert Haynesworth. Like Poe, Haynesworth was a freak athlete without a lot of production coming out of Tennessee, albeit out of a tougher conference. He went 15th to the Tennessee Titans and had a solid, albeit tumultuous tenure with the Titans. The Redskins took a chance on giving him a massive deal in free agency and he definitely didn’t live up to it, playing just 2 years with the team, only one as a productive starter, before being shipped to New England for pennies.
He was then cut by New England and cut by Tampa Bay and is currently out of a job 3 years after signing a 9 figure deal. Poe will be really boom or bust like that and maybe just as inconsistent, but at his past, he’ll be like Haynesworth was for the Titans in 2008, when he was arguably the best defensive lineman in the league with 8.5 sacks. A lot of people like to make the comparison to Haloti Ngata, Vince Wilfork, or BJ Raji with him, but I don’t like he’ll be that sure of a prospect or that consistent of a player.