The NFL Scouting Combine underway, now is as good a time as any to begin looking at potenital draft prospects for the Pittsburgh Steelers. First up, Dontari Poe, DT, University of Memphis.
There is arguably no position that is more important to what the Steelers do defensively in their 3-4 zone scheme than the nose tackle, and with the long-in-the-tooth Casey Hampton rehabbing a torn ACL, and longtime backup Chris Hoke now retired, the need to select and groom a successor to Hampton, a five-time Pro Bowler and member of the Steelers' All-Time Team, is gaining urgency.
Lucky for the Steelers, this is a draft that seems to be lousy with good defensive line prospects. One in particular that could be a natural fit for Pittsburgh is Dontari Poe, a standout defensive tackle from Memphis. Poe is an absolute mountain of a human being and at 6-5, 350 pounds could actually make Hampton -- a man nicknamed "Big Snack" -- look small by comparison. Oh, and he benches 500-pounds and squats 700.
Poe has the freakish size, strength and speed to frequently command double teams, but he's still regarded as a bit raw, and needs some refinement to his game. And, let's get it out of the way now -- it would be kind of cool to have a Poe on a team whose arch enemy are the Ravens. The Steelers have picked DT's in the first round in two of the last three drafts, and its possible that Ziggy Hood could move to nose. Other potential suitors could include Titans who pick four spots ahead of the Steelers and the Texans who pick two spots after.
Excerpts of what's being said about Poe (click link for full analysys):
- NFL.com's analysis of Poe: "Strengths- Poe has a serious ability to eat up a double team ...Weaknesses - Poe can't do much else besides be an effective lane-clogger within the right scheme ..."
- Don Banks, Sports Illustrated: "... freakishly good athlete who has no business moving around as well as he does for a guy his size ..."
- National Football Post's likes and dislikes on Poe: "What I like … doesn't possess much soft flesh ... Has a Haloti Ngata type build ... Is a monster in the weight room. Puts in the time off the field to get better/stronger. ... What I don't like … Doesn't take a positive first step off the football in either the run or pass game. Needs to do a better job maximizing his first step in order to reset the line of scrimmage, wastes too much motion ... Is a boom or bust kind of player."
- Poe's position coach at Memphis, Mike Dubose, has coached defensive lineman at Division I college levels and the NFL for 30 years, said Poe had the potential to be the best he's ever coached, but that Poe also overthinks things at times.
- Memphis Tigers bio of Poe.
- Poe was a standout shot putter in HS.
- A native of Memphis, Poe is kind of a big deal in his hometown.
Though this report from the University of Memphis is littered with bad puns but includes interviews with Poe's strength coach who essentially said that its scary how strong the kid is and he hasn't come close to his potential yet:
Poe is a Memphis Tigers ad campaign:
There is only one game film video of him that I can find on the interwebs, and its a low quality production of all the defensive plays from last seasons Memphis-Arkansas St. game, set to occassionally explicit hip-hop (so if that kind of thing will bother you, you've been given fair warning): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0IaNI-3sw4