All the eyes of Steeler Nation were fixed firmly upon Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe this week at the 2012 NFL Combine and with good reason. The Steelers will certainly be in the market for a young nose tackle during the 2012 NFL draft and Poe certainly seems to fit the bill of what they will be looking for.
You have likely heard over the last few weeks that Poe best resembles Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, not only in build and measurables, but also in his style of play. That comparison is certainly justified.
The defensive linemen have now finished their on the field work at Indianapolis on Monday, so now we have a few numbers to look at as for as measurable so that we can do a little comparison of the two based on those numbers.
|PLAYER||HGT||WGT||40||10||225||VERT||JUMP||20 S||3 CONE|
At the 2006 NFL combine Ngata measured in at 6041. Poe measured in this past week at 6034, a little over a half inch shorter than Ngata. Ngata tipped the scales at 338 while Poe weighed 346.
As far as the bench work went, Poe did 44 reps of 225 pounds and led all participants this year with that number. In 2006 Ngata put up 37 reps of 225. Both ran well in their 40 yard dashes, but Poe was able to run sub 5.0 twice as he posted a 4.98 time with a 1.68 10 yard split time. Ngata ran the 40 close to that in 2006 as his times ranged from 4.99 to 5.13 seconds and he had a reported 10 yard split of 1.73 seconds as well.
Ngata had a better vertical and broad jump than Poe did as he leaped 31.5 inches and jumped 9\’02”. The vertical for Poe was 29.5 and his jump was 8\’09”. Poe did have better short shuttle and 3 cone times as he ran a 4.56 20 yard shuttle and a 3 cone time of 7.90 compared to 4.69 and 7.97 put up respectively by Ngata in 2006. All in all the two measured up roughly about the same as you can plainly see.
What about the pre draft comments on both? Ngata was knocked for being too top heavy at times and not very instinctive at being able to locate the ball. It was said that he lacked several pass rush moves and would likely be best used as a bull rusher due to his strong base and quick burst. Ngata was also accused of playing too upright at times and not gaining proper leverage.
As far as the early knocks on Poe go, he too has been noted as needing to do a better job finding the football and become faster at deciphering information and diagnosing plays. Like Ngata, he has shown the ability to consistently push the pocket inside, but not necessarily one that can get after the quarterback well. He also has shown that he too can loose the leverage war at times.
Both Ngata and Poe showed in college their flexibility to not only play over the ball in zero technique, but that they could effectively move up and down the line in both the three and five technique as well. In other words, the two were regarded as more than just space eaters over the nose. Both also had the nimbleness and footwork in college to be able to drop into zones off of the snap. On Monday NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock compared the two and said that Ngata, during his time thus far in the NFL, has the rare ability to “get skinny” through blockers at 350 pounds, and added that there\’s tape of Poe doing the same thing at Memphis.
The comparison of Poe to Ngata is certainly justified thus far and there is one comparison that has yet to be made, and that is where both were drafted. Ngata was drafted 12th overall in the 2006 NFL draft by Ravens. Poe entered last week as player that could possibly last to the bottom quarter of the first round, but with the performance that he put on in Indianapolis on Monday, he could be headed even higher. There is a long way to go before draft day, but Poe certainly solidified his first round status this week and the biggest leap he may have made on Monday might have been out of the reach of the Steelers, unless they decide to leap up to get him on draft day.