Dontari Poe: Why the Kansas City Chiefs Made a Huge Mistake in the First Round

Christopher AmickCorrespondent IMay 7, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Dontari Poe of Memphis holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was selected #11 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

For a team so close to contention, drafting a project that plays a position of glaring need makes no sense, and that's why the Chiefs made an error when they drafted Dontari Poe.

This type of pick is reserved for a franchise with no major holes to fill or possibly a team that is in full rebuilding mode. The Chiefs remain somewhere in between the two.

The Chiefs came into the 2012 draft with two major areas of need. One was at quarterback and the other was at nose tackle.

Kansas City filled a need, but Poe most likely won't pay immediate dividends this season, and even head coach Romeo Crennel knows that.

He’s a first-round draft choice, and everybody will expect him to be all-world and he’s not all-world. He’s the little fish going into a big pond, and it’s going to take a while for him to get adjusted.

He is going to spend the bulk of 2012 learning his craft at the NFL level, while the Chiefs are going to be stuck with another year of subpar play at nose tackle.

The Chiefs are not an old team by any means, but a host of players are in their prime years, especially on the defensive side of the football.

Watching great players like Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson play during their prime years has been a treat, but seeing them miss the playoffs routinely has been sad.

The Chiefs have a wealth of talent on offense as well, but those players are not going to be around forever either. 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Defensive lineman Dontari Poe of Memphis takes part in a drill during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The team's best player, Jamaal Charles, plays at running back and the shelf life of an NFL runner is short. Receiver Dwayne Bowe is playing on a one-year franchise tender, and the Kansas City offensive line is slowly becoming top-tier.

The Chiefs are a talented team and they desperately needed a nose tackle to complete the transition from a good defense into a great one. The question remains if they can wait for Poe to develop into the player they need.

The window is not closing any time soon for Kansas City, but a greater sense of urgency is necessary.

For a quick lesson on what to expect, Kansas City fans can look no further than fellow first-round pick, Glenn Dorsey.

He was drafted fifth overall out of LSU in 2008, but Dorsey didn't get a handle on playing defensive line well until late 2010.

Tyson Jackson, another early pick, faced the same uphill battle and now Poe will be along for the ride.

Poe is physical freak with amazing quickness for someone his size, but he didn't produce at an alarming rate in college. For a guy who spent his collegiate career in Conference USA that has to be a huge red flag.

His development was hampered some by playing a variety of positions at Memphis, and some scouts say he was being used incorrectly.

He didn't finish the 2011 season as an absolute first-rounder, but Poe managed to turn an eye-popping scouting combine into a top-15 pick.

Now, Poe has gigantic expectations placed upon his huge shoulders which it will be tough for him to live up to, especially as a rookie.

Poe isn't playing a glamorous position and it will be hard to see his impact in a box score, but he will be expected to start relatively soon.

The Chiefs are still a young team but the question remains: will their best players still be at their peaks when Poe realizes his potential?