The Pittsburgh Steelers most certainly will be in the market for a young nose tackle in the upcoming 2012 NFL draft and all eyes have been on Memphis Tigers junior nose tackle Dontari Poe for some time now. On Saturday, the defensive linemen were center stage at the 2012 NFL combine in Indianapolis and Poe is already playing up to the Steelers during his interview with the media following his official weigh-in session.
As Scott Brown reports from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Poe let it be known that veteran Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton is one of his favorite players. When Poe was asked what he liked best about Hampton he said, "He’s one of the more aggressive defensive tackles that this league has seen. His hand strength, once he gets his hands on you he controls you. That’s probably what I admire most about him." Poe added about Hampton, "I’ve always followed him. Being one of the best as he is I’ve followed him for a long time." Brown also reports that Poe said he has not yet gone through the interview process yet, but that will all likely change this evening, as the Steelers will certainly use one of their 60 allowed interview sessions to talk to Poe.
Poe on Hampton: “I’ve always followed him. Being one of the best as he is I’ve followed him for a long time.”
— Scott Brown (@ScottBrown_Trib) February 25, 2012
Poe measured in at the combine on Saturday at 6 foot 4 and he weighed 346 pounds. He is known to be a workout warrior that loves the weight room and Brown reported that he certainly looks it and that he didn\'t look like he had a lot of flab on him for a player of his size. He also told the media that he hoped to bench 225 pounds, 40 times this week.
Hampton, who Poe talked so glowingly about, is heading into the final year of his contract and is currently recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee that suffered early in the AFC Wild Card game against the Denver Broncos. He could be a candidate to start the season on the PUP list if he is not ready by week 1 and general manager Kevin Colbert said earlier in the week that they he still sees Hampton being on the roster in 2012 and contributing whenever he is ready.
Poe will get to show off his athleticism on Monday when the defensive line draft hopefuls hit the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. Poe will also be able to workout for teams at the Memphis Pro Day which is currently scheduled for March 22nd. You can bet the Steelers will have people there.