The Kansas City Chiefs had the 11th pick going into Thursday's draft and decided to draft Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe. It was expected by many people that the Chiefs would take Stanford offensive guard David DeCastro.
The Chiefs have not had a notable defensive lineman play in the middle recently. Since switching to the 3-4 defense, Ron Edwards and Kelly Gregg did not pan out the way general manger Scott Pioli wanted them to.
With Poe coming to Kansas City, he can be the dominant and reliable nose tackle that the Chiefs are looking for.
The Chiefs finished 26th in the league, giving up 132 rushing yards per game. Poe has the ability to disrupt rushing plays through the middle.
Poe can also provide a better pass rush from the middle. At 6’4” and 346 pounds, Poe will be able to push his way through interior guards.The Chiefs have a good group of outside linebackers in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.
If Poe can get his push in the center and invade the pocket, he will be Kansas City's primary pass-rusher from the middle. He won't be successful in terms of getting sacks in the statistics book, but he will force quarterbacks to panic and move around in the pocket.
"He has that kind of ability that he can effect the quarterback in the pocket," said Romeo Crennel, Chiefs head coach and defensive coordinator.
Inside linebackers Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher will have a strong nose tackle in front of them on defense.
Chiefs fans are upset that DeCastro was not selected. However, fans need to understand that even though DeCastro is the highest rated guard, Ryan Lilja is not a bad option and the Chiefs don't have a nose tackle on the roster outside of Jerrell Powe.
The Chiefs passed on multiple opportunities to trade down in the draft, but Pioli and Co. did not want to risk losing Poe to another team. It makes sense when the Philadelphia Eagles traded up to take Fletcher Cox.
Many people are concerned that Poe has the potential to be just as disappointing as Ryan Sims. As the old saying goes, we will never know until the players get on the gridiron and play.
However, if Pioli really is a good evaluator of talent, then it is possible that he can be trusted. Then again, Pioli's first pick as a Chiefs general manager was Tyson Jackson.
We will have to let it play out to see if Pioli learned from his evaluation with defensive linemen in taking Jackson.
Crennel believes that the team can help Poe have a better career in Kansas City than he did in Memphis.
“He played every down at 350 pounds and he played every position on the line in every game,” Crennel said following the draft pick. “He’s playing a nine-technique, he’s playing a seven-technique, a five-technique, a three-technique, a one-technique, a two-technique and head up on the nose sometimes. He’s the jack-of-all-trades. It’s hard to be good at any one thing when you’re doing all of those things.”
Crennel was once the defensive coordinator of Vince Wilfork in New England and hopes that Poe can establish a career similar to Wilfork's.
"I'm excited about the pick myself," Crennel said.