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Poe Might Have Run Out of Packers' Reach

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Poe Might Have Run Out of Packers' Reach

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."

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (30) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jon's picture

Good article Brian. He certainly has the red flags of a workout wonder.

ebongreen's picture

I'm a little concerned about Poe's arm length - at 32", he's got the arms of a tackle, not an end.

That said, were he within reach of the Packers, they'd have to consider him - especially given how much nickel they play. Poe spelling Raji at NT in base, and next to him at DT in nickel, could be a very very difficult combination for opposing offenses. If he maximized his physical gifts, Poe would require double-teams every down, leaving single OL blocks for Raji, Matthews and ROLB-to-be-named-later. Raji would assume Cullen Jenkins old role as penetrator, and the pass rush might improve by leaps and bounds.

LED's picture

Vince Wilfork absolutely took over the AFC Championship game in the first half. I've never seen anything like it. And he wasn't just stopping the run, he was literally running after the QB on every snap. The big guys who can do that are gems.

Bearmeat's picture

I'd bet he'll be gone before the Bears even get to pick.

We won't get a crack at him. DL is deep in this draft - I seriously doubt TT will move up for a DL.

If you remember back a few years ago, CM3 was the last "big time" OLB available in rd 1. And we needed one badly.

If TT moves up, it'll be for an OLB, not DL. There's simply more depth at DL...

jrunde10's picture

Poe has had decent production in his three years, but not enough for me to think that taking this guy in the first round won't be a risk. Most defensive Lineman with first round grades have tackles for a loss in the high teens. Poe's been pretty consistent in his three years around 7.5 TFL, and 2.5 sacks. It's definitely his potential that is driving him into the upper first round.

Michael Brockers strikes me as a similar physical freak that's being projected into the upper first round based on his upside. I have to believe Brockers stats would have skyrocketed his Junior year though. He reminds me of Jeremichael Finley coming out of Texas early, who had decent stats, but nothing that stood out too much. Only the Packers had the luxury of drafting him early in the third round.

redlights's picture

I go back and forth on Poe. A dominating big guy allows for incredible flexiblity elsewhere; but why reach if there is good depth and Trojvac(sp) can coach up?

Where will the other DLinemen go, like Stills and Ta'amu? Also, we can't wait too long for a safety.

D.D. Driver's picture


pkrNboro's picture


pkrNboro's picture

Poe Might Have RUN Out of Packers’ Reach

BubbaOne's picture

If TT were to move up keep an eye on pick #22. It would move us ahead of 3-4 teams Houston, Pitt, and NE and cost us a 3rd round pick. Cleveland with Holmgren in charge can be a willing trade partner as we saw last year. And if they trade up w/ the Rams to get RG3 then Fisher being in rebuilding mode may be willing to trade back to 28 to get an extra 3rd rounder.
TT may need to trade up to get his man whether it's Poe, Cox, whomever.

pkrNboro's picture

Is it just me, or does this year's draft seem weak?

Yeah, I think Luck will be good.

But, IMHO RGiii seems to be a one-year-wonder. This could be "on me," as I don't follow college ball closely, or Baylor at all. But it sure looks like he came out of nowhere -- in contrast to Luck, who seems to have a bigger body of work. And this is the guy that's likely to go Number 2!

I'm not sure whether is was PG/JS/CHTV, but there was an article/column quoting anonymous sources and it seemed like every player has some flaw, not just a zit or blemish:

RG3--can he read defenses?
Kalil--weak run blocker
Claiborne--too slow
Blackmon--poor man's Dez Bryant (and what is that sayin'?!)
Perry--doesn't want to play OLB
Jenkins--pothead (focker...)
Poe--takes plays off
Burfict--imperfect coaching

Geez, last weak draft I remember we got an ILB...

mike pancheri's picture


MarkinMadison's picture

Yeah, but everyone is looking at Pierre-Paul right now and thinking, "o.k. who is the next college sleeper?" So someone will reach, but I do not think that TT will. TT didn't trade up for Justin Harrell, but he did overdraft him and got burned. So trading up for a guy with flaws (albeit the flaw is very different in type) just does not seem likely to me. If it is a weak draft, better to keep your picks and place more bets than blow multiple picks on one bet.

pkrNboro's picture

Harrell would've been fine, after the bicep problem healed.

But... he got FAT the next summer, came to GB out of shape, and tried to do too much in the weight room and screwed up his back.

Ya just never know when someone will do something stupid in the weight room -- last year it was So'oto, trying to be "Superman."

I'm not sure it's fair to pin it on Thompson...

markinmadison's picture

The universal reaction at the time was that TT reached given Harrell's injury history. No one expected him to go that high. There have been times when TT has grabbed his guy when he left everyone scratching their heads because he could have traded back and got the same guy.

mark's picture

If I'm the Green Bay Packers, this draft is 100% about finding a way to trade up and draft Melvin Ingram. Watch the tape and he's the guy doing all the things our defense struggled to do last year. He's the missing link. Matthews on one side, Raji in the middle, Ingram on the other. Somebody's getting to the quarterback.

If Ingram slips to 9-12 range, I would start calling teams offering our 1st this year and our 1st next year.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Are you familiar with a man named Ted Thompson?

pkrNboro's picture

Ingram--short arms(*)

(*) needs bidet...

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Lol, took me a sec. That paints a funny picture if you think about it... His little T-Rex arms just not getting the job done on the pot. Just can't quite reach, lol.

joshywoshybigfatposhy's picture

(shouts out window to NYC street)


FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

This is the type of big fast guy that gives Ted a walking boner... I doubt he's still on the board at 15. Somebody's gonna roll the dice.


Chip Soup's picture

Please not the Ravens. I'm getting dry-heaves thinking about all the witty comments from Phil Simms, Al Michaels, etc, etc.

Mojo's picture

Every combine phenom who moves up in the first round draft just pushes another quality player down lower into the Packers range. For that reason alone I like Poe.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Great point Mojo.

Sootofan97's picture

Maybe upshaw falls ;)

cow42's picture

i've got a question. might seem stupid, but here goes...

i see that the saints have thrown the franchise tag on brees. correct me if i'm wrong but another team could still sign brees and if the saints decided not to match the offer the "signing team" would get brees but would have to compensate new orleans by giving them a first round pick... right?

here's my question - could that "signing team" then just turn around and trade brees?

imagine if the Packers could somehow fit brees' salary under their cap. they could sign him, give the saints pick #28, and then trade the dude to like the dolphins or whoever. how many #1 picks do you think you could get for brees? i bet you could get a team's 1st pick for each of the next 3 drafts.

is this possible?

i'm not suggesting this as an option for the Packers. just thinking out loud. but, shit, i'd let driver, clifton, bush, wells, grant, hawk, zombo, walden, jones, and so'oto all walk (to open cap space) for the chance to move into the top 10 this draft and get an additional 1st rounder in each of the next 2.

redlights's picture

My understanding is that only RFA get compensation of draft choices in the same year.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

If a team slaps a player with a franchise designation, that player belongs to that team, that year.

If a team lays the transition tag on a guy, that's where other teams can make offers and the transition team has a chance to match.

Brees is a Saint this year, unless they cut or trade him. No other team can make him an offer.

Nononsense's picture

Brees was given the Exclusive Franchise Tag so no other team can negotiate with him.

The Non Exclusive Franchise Tag is a bit cheaper but other teams can negotiate with the Player and if they sign him they would have to give the team that tagged him 2 first round draft picks if they don't match the offer.

The Transition Tag only gives a team the ability to match any offer a player receives with no compensation if they choose not to match the offer.

Top tendered RFAs now only cost a 1st rounder to sign off another team and not the 1st and 3rd rounders it used to be.

Roy's picture

In the April draft, I know the Packers have
their seven entitled draft choices plus
probably 4 compensatory picks. One writer
said probably 2 fours and 2 sevens.
In addition to those 11 do the Packers
have any more draft choices, due to past
trades, or have they traded any draft
choices away.

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