Comparisons Of Dontari Poe To Haloti Ngata Are Justified

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.

Haloti Ngata60413385.131.733731.59\’02”4.697.97
Dontari Poe60343464.981.684429.58\’09”4.567.90

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.

More on Poe here.

  • Joe D

    Steelers are NOT moving up in the 1st round to pick anyone!!!
    They don’t have CAP space!!!

  • SteelersDepot

    This is not a good argument for not moving up considering how rookie contracts are now down thanks to the new CBA.

  • John B.

    I say this is our number one pick…we HAVE to get this guy. All of his downsides will be erased once Lebeau and Mitchell get their hands on him.

  • Joe D

    Poe is looking like a #10 pick..
    That would cost Steelers and extra $1.5 mill in 2012…
    I’d bet huge Steelers don’t move up in the draft this year. If they do, that means they let go Wallace and got an extra 1st round pick!!!

  • Eric87

    Would be nice to move up to pick 18 or so, and i think we could grab him. Does anyone know what pick Decastro is projected for? I would go after that guy because he seems extremely mobile, and looks like he could be the perefect pulling guard.

  • SteelersDepot

    I am not saying that they will indeed move up, but to use the cap as a reason why they will not is not good reasoning.

  • Eric87

    the reason why they would not move up is because in all likelihood it would cost them a 2nd or 3rd rounder and that is a bit pricey this season.

  • DK

    I think the steelers chances at drafting Poe was better before he showed off his talents at the combine…if he falls to the 24 pick then I would be very surprised…hopefully and not want I want (but would be ok with if this happens) if Wallace was to leave and we get an extra first round pick then we might be able to make a push to trade up in the draft to grab Poe…by the way did anyone see the kid from Boston College workout and Hightower from Alabama…if we get either one of those players they I think would be solid and fill a need to get younger on defense

  • Ron Jammes

    Devon Still plays all positions on D line, played better against better players.

  • He never played much 3-4 NT.

  • Absolutely, 44 reps will have some team drooling.

  • Exactly, they need their picks, it’s not the money in the way.

  • Eric87

    think most mocks have him going before poe, don’t they? The knock I hear on still is that he is 303 which is smaller than most NT’s, though Hoke was a smaller guy and he always performed well, so this is a non-issue imo.

  • So, Te’amu in the second is looking more likely…

  • Eric87

    prob more realistic, hightower looking likely in 1st, though it should be a LG who can start immediately! Gotta sure up the line to protect ben

  • Eric87

    mychal kendricks from cal ran a 4.47 in the 40. does he play ILB or OLB?

  • Dave

    Agreed – I really can’t see him falling to pick 24 unfortunately. A good coaching staff can correct the flaws in his game. 348lbs doing a 4.98 forty with a 1.68 ten yard split, plus he’s a good character kid and a weight room fantatic.

    Cordy Glenn or Hightower at pick 24 ?

  • The nice thing is, there is value at ILB, OG, and NT int he first three rounds, though I think ILB has the least depth of the three. I think this makes it more likely that they go for Mark Barron or Hightower.

  • Inside!

  • Hightower. Glenn is looking more and more like a RT. I wouldn’t count on him to be a guard.

  • There is more to playing ILB, especially in our scheme, than speed and athleticism.

  • Johnnysims

    oh shut up Joe D

  • ed52

    After reading a bit more about Poe…I’m hearing he likes taking plays off and I’m not liking the sound of that.

    Look…obviously we’d liked to get young talented athletes wherever. But you have to look over the past five year and then to the next five years. We have an “elite” QB who has been hammered over the last five and will likely not make the next five if we continue doing the same. We’ve got to be willing to go and get the talent at the top. Both the Rams and Vikings have expressed an interest in trading their top picks. Something could and should be done to get the absolute best OLs to protect Ben. I want Kalil…plain and simple. I want the best LT in the draft and leave Gilbert at RT. Fill in the G positions in rounds 2 and 3. Everything else in the remaining rounds. NT, ILD, OLB…bah. We had one of the best defenses in the league. What we didn’t have is a line that could protect one of the best QBs in the league.

  • TheBigTG

    Poe isn’t dropping to 24………..I’d guess KC at 11 takes him. Maybe a CB at 24.