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Kansas City Chiefs 2012 Draft: First-Round Pick Dontari Poe Was a Huge Mistake

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Kansas City Chiefs 2012 Draft: First-Round Pick Dontari Poe Was a Huge Mistake
Al Bello/Getty Images

Roger Goodell offered Kansas City Chiefs fans a shot in the gut, when he announced Dontari Poe as their selection with 11th overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

After a mediocre collegiate career at Memphis, Poe shot up draft boards after a record-breaking performance at this year's NFL combine. With the size of a true nose tackle, Poe fills the biggest hole on Kansas City's roster.

But that's about the only part of this selection that makes sense.

With Poe's lack of production against softer teams in college, Poe comes with a high bust factor. As a team without a playoff win in nearly 20 years, the Chiefs need to take the sure road to taking back the top of the AFC West.

Kansas City doesn't need another Ryan Sims or Junior Siavii; Poe carries that risk.

Even considering Poe's immense athletic talent, the Chiefs had plenty of other options on defense. Kansas City made Poe the first defensive lineman taken in 2012, passing on the more productive Fletcher Cox in the process.

And with a record number of trades in the first round, the Chiefs could have found plenty of opportunities to trade further down in the draft. The Seattle Seahawks gained a fourth and sixth round pick to move down to 15th overall; Kansas City could have made that trade and still found Poe waiting.

It gives the feeling of the 2009 NFL draft when the Chiefs took Tyson Jackson third overall. Projections marked Jackson much lower as a late first-round pick, but Kansas City spent big on the defensive end. Even with a respectable season last year, Jackson is still generally considered a bust.

For a "risk averse" general manager in Scott Pioli, who is no stranger to making draft-day trades after his time in New England, this selection completely goes against convention.

Perhaps Pioli believes Kansas City's roster is deep enough to take a chance on a high-potential player in the first round, or that Romeo Crennel can get maximum output out of Poe.

But Poe's performance in college when he wasn't a millionaire didn't look like someone striving for excellence. Crennel will likely face a tall order convincing Poe to play up to his draft position and potential.

Pioli could also face a warmer seat if Poe doesn't produce quickly. With Jackson only playing passable ball and Jonathan Baldwin breaking his hand in a locker room fight, only Eric Berry rates as a successful first-round pick on Pioli's watch. Pioli needs Poe to succeed if he hopes to continue enjoying job security.

And with fans watching first-round picks starting at all three defensive line positions, "success" means at least a top five defense.

Here's hoping Pioli made a good gamble, for his sake.

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