16 Mar

Posted by Tyler Dunn, March 16th 2012, 12:39 am EST

Dontari Poe has become the media darling of the 2012 Draft.

But for Steelers fans who think he is Casey Hampton 2.0 – think again.

Poe is 6’5 350 lbs. That’s a large individual. But 6’5 doesn’t lend itself to playing nose tackle in a 34 defensive front.

Generally, the best way to attack a double team is by getting lower than the linemen blocking you and standing your ground. That’s a lot easier for a player who is 6’0 than it is for one who is 6’4 – even if the taller man has a few extra pounds.

Players like New England Patriots nose tackle (now more of a defensive tackle) Vince Wilfork – who is 6’3 – are able to deal with their height by playing a lot lower than is natural.

Dontari Poe can’t do that.

Or at least he didn’t at Memphis. The Junior often ends up on the ground when taking on a one on one run block. And when he is double teamed – forget it. He gets blown off the ball.

Poe’s athleticism is unquestioned. He is a fast, huge player who has shown the ability to penetrate into the backfield and plays very well laterally.

But these skills lend themselves much more to playing defensive end in a 34 than playing nose.

The Steelers would be much better off targeting a traditional nose tackle, such as Alabama’s Josh Chapman or Washington’s Alameda Ta’amu.

If Pittsburgh does select Dontari Poe, don’t be surprised if Ziggy Hood ends up in the middle of the defensive line with Poe taking over at end.

Hood isn’t the best option as nose tackle – but he’s a lot better than Poe.


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