The Green Bay Packers need help on the defensive line, there's no doubt about it.
One season after winning the Super Bowl, Cullen Jenkins left in free agency to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Packers defense fell off the map. They gave up the most passing yards in NFL history, the second-most total yards ever and the pass rush was abysmal.
Green Bay will be looking for help along the defensive line in the NFL Draft come April, and Memphis' Dontari Poe would seem like a logical target. At 6-4 and 346 pounds, he's built just like B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett, guys seemingly born to play in Dom Capers' 3-4 base defense.
The only question is, if the Packers selected Poe in the first round of the Draft, would the pass rush continue to stagnate? Poe only had one sack his senior season in college.
"I think I'm explosive, very explosive," said Poe on Saturday of the Combine. "That's probably my biggest strength. Most people think just because I'm big I do nothing but power over you, things like that. I try to use my quickness to my advantage."
Two days later, Poe seemed like a fortune teller.
In spite of tipping the scales at nearly 350 pounds, Poe rumbled down the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday as his 40 time clocked in at under 5.00 seconds, 4.98 to be exact, an amazing figure for a man of his size.
With that kind of speed, maybe he can rush the passer. And Poe knows he has to be more than just a run stuffer at the next level.
"It's become more important because the NFL is becoming a passing league," said Poe. "But if you can't stop the run you're in a pretty bad situation. You have to be able to do both."
But if Poe is such an athletic freak, why didn't he have more success against the pass in college?
One school of thought says that if Poe was such a man amongst boys playing against mid-major Conference USA competition, he should have dominated.
On the other hand, some may point to the dearth of talent on Memphis' roster and their combined 5-31 record over the past three seasons. Opponents could double- and triple-team Poe and still be in good shape in one-on-one situations against the rest of the Memphis defense.
The past is past, however, and Poe is focused on the future. His stock is rising, probably out of reach of the Packers at the 28th pick in the Draft.
His 40 time was impressive enough, but then take into account that he put up 44 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press, the most of anyone at the Combine and three better than Michigan center David Molk.
Poe is looking like he has an unbelievable combination of size and strength that is drawing rave reviews from NFL Draft analysts.
"He's got a physical skill set that reminds me of Haloti Ngata," said Mike Mayock of the NFL Network on a conference call with reporters. "I don't think he's Haloti Ngata. He's that big, and he's got those kind of movement skills, but he's so raw, it's scary. He might not make a tackle year one. You know what I mean? He's one of those guys."
The Packers might have to trade up in the first round if they want an opportunity to select Poe who is also valuable because of his versatility.
Raji and Pickett have flip-flopped from tackle to end, keeping offenses guessing who's going to line up where. Poe might be able to do the same.
"I am used to playing nose tackle and the 3-technique, and I've played some 5-technique," said Poe. "I'm pretty comfortable anywhere on the defensive line."
The Packers also have to consider that Pickett is entering his 12th year in the NFL, and his play is going to start regressing at some point in the not-too-distant future.
They're in good shape with Raji, but teams can never have enough big-bodied, impact players on the defensive line, especially in their 3-4 scheme.
Wherever Poe ends up playing, though, his dreams of playing in the NFL are about to come true.
"Back in high school we used to look at it and think it was so far away," said Poe. "But now at the end of my college career and getting this opportunity, it's a blessing."
- Like Like
- 0 points