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mesaSteeler
04-18-2012, 11:41 PM
NT Poe visits, could be Steelers No. 1 pick
April 19, 2012 12:00 am
Dave Martin/Associated Press
http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/nt-poe-visits-could-be-steelers-no-1-pick-632060/

Memphis defensive lineman Dontari Poe == 6 feet 4, 346 pounds is considered the best nose tackle in the draft.

By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers waited until the final day to meet with the player who could be their first pick in the NFL draft.

Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe was among five players who visited the Steelers Wednesday -- the last day draft prospects are allowed to meet with NFL teams -- and there is a possibility it could be the first of his many trips inside the team's South Side facility.

Poe, 6 feet 4, 346 pounds, is considered the best nose tackle in the draft next week. And nose tackle is one of two positions in the Steelers defense -- a replacement for James Farrior at inside linebacker is the other -- that could be immediately addressed with the top pick.

Five-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton is coming off surgery to his anterior cruciate ligament and is likely in his final year with the Steelers.

Hampton reworked his contract recently and accepted a pay cut in exchange for a return for one more season with the Steelers.

Also visiting the Steelers Wednesday were tight end Adrien Robinson of Cincinnati, offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum of Southern Methodist and wide receivers Toney Clemons of Colorado (Valley High School) and Gregory Childs of Arkansas.

Poe's stock soared after being a workout wonder at the scouting combine in Indianapolis.

He ran a 4.98 in the 40-yard dash, did a combine-best 44 reps in the 225-pound bench and had a 29 1/2-inch vertical jump.

Poe can bench-press 500 pounds, squat 700 and power-clean 400.

It is possible Poe could be available to the Steelers with the 24th overall pick because a lot of NFL coaches and personnel people think he needs another season to develop. There is also some concern that Poe tends to take plays off and doesn't play up to his ability.

But he has such raw power and explosion he could become a dominating player in the league.

Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com; twitter: @gerrydulac
First Published 2012-04-19 04:31:32

GMU Steeler
04-18-2012, 11:55 PM
I understand the worries about Poe but I would love it if he fell to us. I think Mitchell could do a great job with him. I doubt he falls to us though.

Hawaii 5-0
04-19-2012, 12:56 AM
I understand the worries about Poe but I would love it if he fell to us. I think Mitchell could do a great job with him. I doubt he falls to us though.

I do worry about a player like Dontari Poe who has such outstanding measurables yet such mediocre tape and production.

but I think it's a moot point as Poe's potential is just too enormous for him to drop out of the top 20.

pete74
04-19-2012, 02:12 AM
If he drops I would love to grab him

zshelhamer
04-19-2012, 07:53 AM
A big guy who takes plays off and doesn't play up to his ability...second coming of Albert Haynesworth anyone?

Kingmagyar
04-19-2012, 08:07 AM
Too many worries for a first round pick. If there is the slightest chance of a player being a bust then he shouldn't be picked in the first round.

TRH
04-19-2012, 08:11 AM
Poe will be long gone before we pick.

Curtain_of_Steel
04-19-2012, 08:23 AM
I do not think we should take him if he is there. We can grab one in the 2nd rd. We have other pressing needs, OL, LB, CB.

pete74
04-19-2012, 08:56 AM
I do not think we should take him if he is there. We can grab one in the 2nd rd. We have other pressing needs, OL, LB, CB.

Were set at linebacker with our starters. CB we have 3 young guys ready to play. We can use a guard but I wouldn't say we absolutely need one in the first. Regardless of what we think Steelers are taking the best player available

GMU Steeler
04-19-2012, 09:39 AM
I do worry about a player like Dontari Poe who has such outstanding measurables yet such mediocre tape and production.

but I think it's a moot point as Poe's potential is just too enormous for him to drop out of the top 20.

I agree with you on both counts. I wouldn't trade up for him this all said.

tony hipchest
04-19-2012, 09:51 AM
just one guys opinion (who says poe has bust written all over him)-


Russell Lande ‏ @RUSSLANDE
Finished 43 DT's for draft guide & ended up rating D. Poe as the # 5 DT for a 43. He is not a true NT.

Russell Lande ‏ @RUSSLANDE
@AllMyTeamsSuck - Poe is not a nose tackle.

albert haynesworth II???

Men of Steel
04-19-2012, 10:15 AM
im sure the front office will not only look at his talent, but his personality and work ethic. dont worry, front office will place his true value on our draft board. and if the reports are true, i dont think they'll grab him.

but if they see something we dont, im down for the pic. the dudes a beast. he just has to play like it too.

Hawaii 5-0
04-19-2012, 12:07 PM
Dontari Poe Visits Pittsburgh, But It Seems Unlikely He'll Be a Steeler

by Neal Coolong on Apr 19, 2012


His size and stature doesn't lend itself well to vertical speed, yet, Memphis NT Dontari Poe can move like a faster defensive end. He's 346 pounds and moves like he's 250.

His strength is an obvious asset to the position, but bench-pressing 500 pounds is usually reserved for the otherwise low-talented defensive linemen who's strength alone could earn him a training camp invite. Squatting 700 and cleaning 400 borders on Olympian status as well.

But why didn't he dominate? That's the question turning Steelers fans - if not their front office - upside down as the time before the 2012 NFL Draft drops from weeks to days, and turns quickly into hours. With his visit to Pittsburgh Wednesday, the last day teams can have potential draft participants in for meet-and-greets, the speculation ensues.

You flat-out do not find guys with the combination of size and athleticism as Dontari Poe very often. Teaching a guy with those kinds of attributes how to play the nose tackle position should be like a piano teacher getting a blank-slated Mozart.

That doesn't answer the main question, though. Why didn't he dominate in college? With all due respect to Memphis University and the fine staff I'm sure they have there, how does a guy with those freakish natural gifts not develop into a player? Come to that, why wasn't he playing for a higher-end football program?

The easy answers lay somewhere in the cliche questions: motivation, intelligence, care, love of the game. All things I have complete faith Mike Tomlin and the Steelers' brass asked about in their research process.

When the rubber meets the road, the Steelers aren't a franchise who only drafts guys who can contribute in Year 1. In fact, the last two first-round defensive lineman picks they've made - Cameron Heyward and Ziggy Hood - only played their rookie years because of injuries. 2007 second-round pick LaMarr Woodley barely saw the field his rookie year. If they were in the position to take Poe, and they made him their first-round pick, he would most likely follow the "redshirt" philosophy as many of his predecessors have.

But that upside sure is tantalizing. So much so, this is probably a moot point and another team will grab him before the Steelers would have to worry about it.

It's still one of the more intriguing draft prospects the Steelers have weighed in the past several years. They're used to taking the guy who produced in college, not the project. But the roster is in flux, top to bottom, this could be the year that strategy changes up a little bit.

Again, provided he's on the board at 24.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/4/19/2959590/2012-nfl-draft-prospect-dontari-poe-steelers

Fire Arians
04-19-2012, 12:21 PM
he could be the steelers pick (if he drops like 15 projected spots) lol. yeah, with that said, andrew luck COULD be the steelers #1 pick

Hawaii 5-0
04-19-2012, 04:24 PM
Will Steelers go nose first?

By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer dlolley@observer-reporter.com


For nearly a decade, there was little change on the Steelers' defensive line. The same players helped Pittsburgh get to three Super Bowls and win two.

With the recent retirements of end Aaron Smith and nose tackle Chris Hoke, things are going to look different along the defensive front next season.

The Steelers have used a pair of first-round draft picks on defensive linemen in recent years, taking Ziggy Hood in 2009, and Cameron Heyward last year.

Those two, coupled with holdovers Brett Keisel, Casey Hampton and surprising Steve McLendon will be counted upon to anchor the defense.

Hampton, however, suffered a torn knee ligament in the Steelers' playoff loss at Denver. Though Hampton is expected to be ready for the start of the season, the 34-year-old nose tackle is nearing the end of his career. That could make finding a replacement a priority in the NFL draft April 26-28.

The Steelers hold 10 picks in the seven-round draft, including the No. 24 selection in the first round.

Finding nose tackles to anchor a 3-4 defense isn't easy, and not every college defensive tackle fits the profile of what the Steelers need.

Topping this year's group of nose tackles is Memphis' Dontari Poe, a massive 6-4, 346-pound run stuffer. The opinions of Poe's ability vary greatly. He showed freakish talent at the NFL combine, excelling in all of the position drills, running the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds and bench pressing 225 pounds a combine-best 44 times.

But Poe's production at Memphis didn't match his athletic ability. He had only eight tackles for losses and one sack in 2011.

"Coming off the combine, I wanted to show people what a freak this kid Poe is, and he is a physical freak, no doubt," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock told Pro Football Talk. "However, the tape is very average, so how do you match it up - potential versus actual game footage? When I look at this kid, I see a freaky athlete with a good motor. If you have those two things, over time, I believe you can develop into a high-quality NFL player."

If Poe is available when the Steelers pick at No. 24, they would have to be very tempted to select him. Poe, who visited the Steelers Wednesday, has been compared athletically to Baltimore's Haloti Ngata.

The next group of nose tackles include Washington's Alameda Ta'amu (6-3, 335), Brigham Young's Hebron Fangupo (6-1, 323) and Alabama's Josh Chapman (6-1, 316). All three are considered second- to third-round prospects.

The Steelers brought Fanguopo to Pittsburgh for a one-on-one visit, and general manager Kevin Colbert has gone to workouts at Alabama to check out Chapman.

Chapman, in particular, is an interesting prospect. He anchored Alabama's national championship defense last season despite playing much of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. Chapman had surgery to repair the injury in January and is expected to make a full recovery.

Though the Steelers likely won't be in the market for 3-4 defensive ends in the early rounds, there's a solid group available led by North Carolina's Quinton Coples (6-6, 284), LSU's Michael Brockers (6-5, 322) and Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox (6-4, 298). All three are likely to be selected in the first 20 picks of the draft.

Some teams might view Brockers and Cox as defensive tackles, but they would play end in Pittsburgh's defense.

Connecticut's Kendall Reyes, Michigan State's Jerel Worthy and Chandler Jones of Syracuse also could also hear their names called before the end of the first round.

In later rounds, the Steelers might take a look at Cincinnati's Derek Wolfe (6-5, 295) or Akiem Hicks (6-5, 318) of Regina College as defensive ends.

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sports11/04-19-2012-NFL-Draft-series-Defensive-linemen

Goldsteel86
04-19-2012, 04:38 PM
ILB (Hightower) or OL, as long as "Big Snacks" is back why sign him with a first round pick, need someone who could step in and start now, hell need an ILB who can start tomorrow as bad as yesterday. Also by week 7 the OL will be patchwork, need to look at the obvious, Tomlin is sold on Hampton!

FrancoLambert
04-19-2012, 04:47 PM
O-line! O-line! O-line! O-line!
We need the most help here.
Improve this unit and maybe we'll get to see what this O can really do.

Steelersfan87
04-19-2012, 05:42 PM
ILB (Hightower) or OL, as long as "Big Snacks" is back why sign him with a first round pick, need someone who could step in and start now, hell need an ILB who can start tomorrow as bad as yesterday. Also by week 7 the OL will be patchwork, need to look at the obvious, Tomlin is sold on Hampton!

Do you actually think that Hightower would start this year?

pete74
04-19-2012, 06:00 PM
Do you actually think that Hightower would start this year?

You beat me to it. I was about to post the same thing. It surprises me that so many people still havnt figured the Steelers drafting system out yet. They draft for the future not for immediate need. The last two years everyone was certain we would take a CB in the first because they thought we needed at least one. I'm not saying we will draft Poe bit I gurentee we draft a NT in one of the first 3 rounds and probrobably 1st or 2nd. Hampton will be done after this season and we need a replacement now because we don't like to start rookies unless there is a injury.

Heinz Hitman
04-19-2012, 08:20 PM
I would be ok with taking Poe if he falls to us, but I am not sure I would want to trade up to get him. We could get a NT in round 2 or 3 if we choose. I really like Alameda Ta'amu. Kind of shocked we didn't bring him in for a visit.

Yes, we still have Hampton, but the chances are pretty good that he will miss the first 6 games of the upcoming season. That coupled with the fact that he was less than impressive last year tells me that NT is a position of great need in this draft. McClendon is the only other NT on the roster.

TRH
04-19-2012, 08:49 PM
Poe's stock, after dipping, appears to be going way up again. Almost with certainty, he's projected to go from number 11 to as low as number 15 and maybe even sooner. This is a moot point.

Solak
04-19-2012, 09:14 PM
I would be ok with taking Poe if he falls to us, but I am not sure I would want to trade up to get him. We could get a NT in round 2 or 3 if we choose. I really like Alameda Ta'amu. Kind of shocked we didn't bring him in for a visit.

Yes, we still have Hampton, but the chances are pretty good that he will miss the first 6 games of the upcoming season. That coupled with the fact that he was less than impressive last year tells me that NT is a position of great need in this draft. McClendon is the only other NT on the roster.

I like Ta'amu also. Almost hope Poe is gone before us, then take either Hightower, Glenn, or Zeitler. Second round take Ta'amu and then go from there.

Sixburgher
04-19-2012, 10:18 PM
If there is the slightest chance of a player being a bust then he shouldn't be picked in the first round.

That pretty much covers any player ever picked in the first round of any draft.

tony hipchest
04-20-2012, 12:34 AM
That pretty much covers any player ever picked in the first round of any draft.

well yeah, any player can go "len bias" i guess, but i think the point is that if there are any obvious question marks or red flags, a team is better off safe than sorry.

pretty much the same reasoning that the steelers went with jerricho cotchery as opposed to randy moss.

Men of Steel
04-20-2012, 10:31 AM
You beat me to it. I was about to post the same thing. It surprises me that so many people still havnt figured the Steelers drafting system out yet. They draft for the future not for immediate need. The last two years everyone was certain we would take a CB in the first because they thought we needed at least one. I'm not saying we will draft Poe bit I gurentee we draft a NT in one of the first 3 rounds and probrobably 1st or 2nd. Hampton will be done after this season and we need a replacement now because we don't like to start rookies unless there is a injury.

so would you say the Pouncey pick was for future, not immediate need? because we were set with, oh lets see who was it at the time.. justin hartwig?

i get what you mean, but keep in mind that sometimes there is immediate need, and the draft pick just seems to progress enough to start. just like pouncey did.

you never know, if hightower is picked, he might just outplay foote in training camp and start.

and i dont think they should draft poe. at first i did, but now i see his playing videos, and doesnt impress me. you'd figure with all that strength he could blow through anyone, but he just doesnt.

Steelersfan87
04-20-2012, 04:37 PM
The Steelers know far more about Poe than any of us do. If he's available at 24, then we'll know what they learned from watching him work out for them.

devin7558
04-20-2012, 04:54 PM
people and scouts make to much of his lack of stats/production on paper
he played for a bad program, with terrible coaching...he went to memphis because thats where hes from and wanted to play for his hometown college

REALLLLLY watch the tape. he is a disruptive football player. with good coaching and some better technique he will anchor and command double teams in the NFL. he can clog lanes and let LB's fly to the ball carrier. thats what the steelers are looking for in their 3-4.

i doubt he falls to 24 though

Hawaii 5-0
04-20-2012, 09:16 PM
The Steelers know far more about Poe than any of us do. If he's available at 24, then we'll know what they learned from watching him work out for them.


what are you saying, that the Steelers know more than us geniuses that post on message boards?

Blasphemy! :laughing:

austinfrench76
04-20-2012, 10:02 PM
I just keep hearing that he will be long gone...

Men of Steel
04-20-2012, 11:20 PM
people and scouts make to much of his lack of stats/production on paper
he played for a bad program, with terrible coaching...he went to memphis because thats where hes from and wanted to play for his hometown college

REALLLLLY watch the tape. he is a disruptive football player. with good coaching and some better technique he will anchor and command double teams in the NFL. he can clog lanes and let LB's fly to the ball carrier. thats what the steelers are looking for in their 3-4.

i doubt he falls to 24 though

1 sack. 8 tackles for a loss. out of hundreds and hundreds of snaps. not really too disruptive.

stats are a product of your play. and if he lacked stats/production in a low talented conference where he should have dominated. that raises the red flag for me.

dont get me wrong, i love his raw talent. just not sold on the guy. dont think hed command double teams. college o-linemen and NFL o-linemen are totally different.

Steelersfan87
04-20-2012, 11:26 PM
Disruption doesn't necessary equal "stats". Otherwise Casey Hampton wouldn't be considered a disruptive player. Does that mean anything for Poe specifically? No, but it's something to keep in mind when evaluating defensive linemen.

ricardisimo
04-21-2012, 02:48 AM
This smells like smokescreen to me.

Hawaii 5-0
04-23-2012, 11:41 PM
The key for Steelers? Picking, hoping

April 24, 2012
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Like a lot of teams in the bottom third of the NFL draft, the Steelers are not always sure which players will be available. And, with the 24th overall pick, they know most, if not all, of the so-called elite prospects already have been selected.

When the draft begins Thursday, that won't change for the Steelers.

If anything, identifying the top player for them might be even more precarious.

"The sure-fire, easy guys to evaluate and pick, there are not as many as there have been in the past," said general manager Kevin Colbert. "Once you get beyond the first seven to 10 guys, everybody is going to be picking and hoping. We are one of those teams."

Picking and hoping is not foreign territory for the Steelers, who are accustomed to drafting each year from near the bottom of each round. Succeeding is something to which they are accustomed, too, considering the quality of No. 1 picks they have made despite picking in the bottom half of the draft in eight of the past 11 years.

And that, Colbert said, is important for a team that relies on the draft, not free agency, to re-stock its talent and remain competitive.

"When you don't get the first-round guy right, that sets you back for probably four years because that is a slot you are going to try to fill at some point," Colbert said Monday at a pre-draft news conference at the team's South Side facility. "Yes, we are not big spenders in free agency and we will never be because we want to keep our own. But if we missed on a pick that we would want to be keeping as our own, it will set us back and distract us from what we need to be doing."

The Steelers would appear to have several immediate needs to address Thursday when the first round will be conducted. And it remains to be seen which position they might consider more urgent:

Inside linebacker, where defensive captain James Farrior was among several veteran leaders released in the offseason? Or nose tackle, where five-time Pro Bowler Casey Hampton is coming off major knee surgery and is in what is expected to be his final season with the team?

Those are the most likely positions to be addressed with the top pick, and the most likely candidates for those spots are Alabama inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower and Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe -- if Poe is available.

Both players visited with the Steelers at the NFL combine in Indianapolis and their practice facility.

"Need is not a good word," Colbert said. "It's 'want.' We want players. We don't necessarily need. We try to add from within. The subtractions we made were substantial from a leadership standpoint. We talked about that before. That will be replaced -- we don't know by whom or how long [it will take].

"As far as the players released, we will try to replace them from within, the guys we already have. We can add to that with the young guys coming in and trying to compete for that playing time. Coach Tomlin will make a final decision of when a guy plays, but, quite honestly, there are not a lot of players in this draft that can come in and be immediate impact guys for us."

Colbert said one aspect of their draft evaluation has not changed: Wide receiver and cornerback are the deepest positions in the draft. But he added the situation with Pro Bowl receiver Mike Wallace, who has not signed his $2.7 million tender for 2012, will have no bearing -- "Not at all," he said -- on whether the team takes a wide receiver at some point in the draft.

Tomlin said he is not bothered about reports that say Wallace will not sign his tender and play for the Steelers this season. Wallace did not receive any offers from other NFL teams before Friday night -- the deadline for restricted free agents to sign with another team.

"There were reports he was going somewhere every day in restricted free agency and he's still here," Tomlin said. "So we'll deal with it day to day."

Colbert said the Steelers' goal remains the same: To sign Wallace to a contract that will keep him with the team for a long time.

"We said all along that the decision would be ours, and it remains that way. We want Mike to be here for the long haul, and he knows that, and we know that. Hopefully, at some point, we can get that done."

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/the-key-for-steelers-picking-hoping-632838/

Steeldude
04-24-2012, 01:08 PM
Lacks the anchor and balance of an elite 3-4 nose tackle prospect and disappeared for stretches at a time playing at Memphis; moving him off the line of scrimmage is easier than expected... Doesn't always maintain gap responsibilities, blockers can easily seal him out of the play... Lacks ideal awareness of the ball carrier, he often ends up out of position to prevent backs from crossing the line of scrimmage... Staying low is difficult, comes out of his stance too high and can be driven off the ball; his height serves as a disadvantage, shorter centers have the natural leverage advantage and can get their hands into his chest, doesn't disengage well versus double teams... Shorter than ideal arms and gives up a ton of leverage at 6'3", ideal 3-4 nose tackle height is around 6'1" or 6'2" such as Casey Hampton, Vince Wilfork, Aubrayo Franklin or B.J. Raji... His ability to line up at nose tackle in a three-man front is questioned due to his lack of leverage and balance, has the size of a 3-4 nose but not the skill set, would be a more natural fit in a 4-3 or as a 3-4 DE (5-technique), doesn't project to 3-4 nose as well as his weight would suggest......................

SteelersFan99
04-24-2012, 07:15 PM
What's Up Steelers Fans??!?!?!??

I am so pumped for Thursday night (and Friday)!!! I think the Steelers must target offensive line and defense (of course).

The guys at http://www.sportsmasher.com just released a new mock draft. They have us drafting Dont'a Hightower and passing over Dontari Poe. What do you guys think about this? I think I agree, Hightower is a great fit, the guys seems like he belongs in Black and Gold.

The offensive line pick that intrigues me the most is Kevin Zeitler out of Wisconsin.

Here is their mock:

http://sportsmasher.com/2012/04/24/nfl-draft-version-5-0-final-edition/

GOOOOO STEELERS!!!!

:tt03::helmet::tt03:

MrAustin412
04-25-2012, 08:23 PM
Here's a quick look at all the guys who have visited with the Steelers http://www.fourthandtwelve.com/

MrAustin412
04-25-2012, 11:30 PM
If Poe slips to 24, I'm a fan of the Steelers jumping on it. He won't have to "start" necessarily right away and can learn under Hampton, while Casey and McClendon split time. He has so much potential and can be good if he learns how to use that raw talent.

With that said, I doubt he'll be there. Hightower Bandwagon!

Hawaii 5-0
04-26-2012, 01:41 PM
NFL Draft: With value falling, are NTs worth No. 1 pick?

April 23, 2012 12:00 am
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Two men have dominated one position for the Steelers over the past 20 seasons, and, starting Thursday, the task of looking for the next one might begin.

The Steelers drafted Joel Steed in 1992 and forgot about the nose-tackle position for the rest of the '90s. They drafted Casey Hampton in '01, and he's returning for at least one more season.

"They were fortunate to make two really good picks with those guys," said former Buffalo Bills president and Steelers personnel man, Tom Donahoe, who helped select Steed. "One thing about nose tackles, they can sometimes play a little bit longer because most of them are not three-down players. They're run-stopper type guys, first and second down."

Steed, drafted in the third round, played through '99. Kimo von Oelhoffen, signed as a free agent, played the position in 2000 before he moved to end when Hampton took over as a rookie. That same year undrafted Chris Hoke came aboard, and he backed up Hampton for a decade until he retired this year.

Hampton is recovering from ACL surgery and will turn 35 before the season begins. He took a steep pay cut for the final year of his contract. The search for his successor soon will begin.

But how much importance should a team place on the nose-tackle position, which seems to be fading in importance in the NFL?

The Steelers next nose tackle already could be on their roster -- Ziggy Hood has been suggested and Steve McLendon played some for them last year. If they want one in this draft, they don't have many from which to choose.

"It's a below-average class of prospects," proclaimed Rob Rang, senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.

"They're few and far between," said Donahoe, who will provide analysis on the draft for ESPN this week.

The most obvious one, and the defensive tackle linked to the Steelers most often in the first round, is Dontari Poe, who is 6 feet 4, 345 pounds and played at Memphis. He engenders diverse opinions about where he should rank. Some say he underachieved last season and is merely a workout warrior; others say that, as a junior, he just needs time to mature into the position.

"Poe has to be a consideration for them," said Tom Modrak, former president of the Philadelphia Eagles and personnel man with the Steelers and Buffalo Bills. "I watched him, I liked him; the early part of his game is good. He faded and he didn't do this and that, but that man is a damn good athlete. You don't get big guys like that. He's a rare commodity. There's a little bit of risk, but the reward would be big if you're right."

Said Rang, "A lot of times, he gets blown off the ball for a big guy. If you put him in the middle, getting double teams from NFL-caliber guys, you're talking about a guy who could very much struggle, at least early on. For a club that considers itself a playoff contender, I don't know if he can come in and be a guy a team can rely on early on."

The beauty for the Steelers is, they won't have to if Hampton is able to play early in the season. There are not many other choices in this draft, and none are first-round rated. There is Jerel Worthy of Michigan State, Alameda Ta'amu of Washington, and Alabama's Josh Chapman, himself healing from ACL and meniscus surgery. Rang said Ta'amu is the only true 3-4 nose tackle of the bunch.

Here's a Saturday draft possibility for the position: Hebron Fangupo (6-1, 323), who finished at Brigham Young after transferring from Southern California. Like another Hoke, who also was from Brigham Young, Fangupo served two years on a Mormon mission. Another, John Hughes, a low-rated defensive tackle from Cincinnati, paid the Steelers a visit last week.

Besides Hoke, the Steelers have found other good nose tackles outside of the top rounds. Edmund Nelson came to them as a seventh-rounder from Auburn in '82, one of the team's first true nose tackles after their switch to the 3-4 that season. An insurance man, he broadcasts preseason games for KDKA-TV, where he also co-hosts Steelers pregame shows. That's a lot easier than playing nose tackle in the NFL, where he played seven seasons.

"It's probably the most thankless job on the field," Nelson said. "You do so much for the defense and you get so little out of it as far as personal stats or your name announced on the loudspeaker. It takes a trained eye to figure out whether you have an impact or not. It's thankless.

"It's full contact every play, and not every position can say that. You're not just trying to fight through, you're trying to occupy two players at the same time."

The job is a peculiar one for a defensive player; a nose tackle plays more like an offensive lineman trying to block people so the offensive linemen cannot get through and block the linebackers behind him.

"He's hugely important because he has to try to clog up the middle and, as best he can, keep those inside linebackers free to read and go make the plays," Donahoe said. "He knows he'll get doubled a lot, that's part of the position, so a guy has to be really stout, and those are usually big, thick guys. It's important how they take on blocks and clog up the running lanes.

"Whether a nose tackle makes two or three tackles a game really is not that significant. It's a dirty job, really. If you're going to play the 3-4 and you don't have a good nose, you're going to get pounded."

Having good nose tackles has been a key to the Steelers consistent success against the run through the years. But, with NFL teams leaning more on the passing game, just how important can a nose tackle be to a defense? Offenses that use the spread formation with four and five wide receivers can literally take a nose tackle right out of the game. He has long been considered a two-down player, but, with teams passing more, even that might be overstating his workday.

"I don't know if it's going to be a thing of the past to have a strong stud nose tackle or a hybrid like I was, where you can get some snaps out of the guy," Nelson said. "If you see the run only occasionally, what do you need a nose tackle for?

"As the game evolves and the passing game becomes more and more part of offenses, you may see the nose-tackle position change again."

That begs a question as to why the Steelers might want to draft a player such as Poe in the first round, when the position he plays is part-time and becoming even moreso.

"To me, I think you still have to stop the run first and put them in that pass situation," said Modrak, who believes a good nose tackle is still the key to a good 3-4 defense.

Donahoe believes it's possible that nose tackles are fading from favor on NFL defenses.

"So many people are throwing the ball and throwing it on every down, not just third down," he reasoned. "People have their nickel personnel on offense on the field more than their regular personnel.

"It depends a little on your philosophy and how a defense tries to match up with offensive players. Sometimes, people think we'll just stay in our regular defense on first and second down no matter what you do and sub on third down. Some of it is still your philosophy and your style of play."

The Steelers may reveal if they intend to continue their long-held, nose tackle-centric philosophy on defense in this draft.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/nfl-draft-with-value-falling-are-nts-worth-no-1-pick-632715/

TRH
04-26-2012, 02:53 PM
What's Up Steelers Fans??!?!?!??

I am so pumped for Thursday night (and Friday)!!! I think the Steelers must target offensive line and defense (of course).

The guys at http://www.sportsmasher.com just released a new mock draft. They have us drafting Dont'a Hightower and passing over Dontari Poe. What do you guys think about this? I think I agree, Hightower is a great fit, the guys seems like he belongs in Black and Gold.

The offensive line pick that intrigues me the most is Kevin Zeitler out of Wisconsin.

Here is their mock:

http://sportsmasher.com/2012/04/24/nfl-draft-version-5-0-final-edition/

GOOOOO STEELERS!!!!

:tt03::helmet::tt03:


Poe should be long gone by the time we pick. I like Hightower and Zeitler...if they're both there when we pick, i'm guessing they go for Hightower, the guys just a born Steeler, but i'll be happy with either.

Hawaii 5-0
04-26-2012, 08:04 PM
well, we can scratch Poe off the list, the Chiefs just selected him

lloydwoodson
04-26-2012, 08:07 PM
Poe off the board with Chiefs pick number 11. I am happy about it personally.

zcoop
04-26-2012, 08:12 PM
This is an interesting draft, we should be able to get an excellent first rounder.

rthorsn
04-26-2012, 08:16 PM
Can't be to upset. I love how this draft is shaping up for the Steelers

tony hipchest
04-26-2012, 08:37 PM
pat kirwan had dinner with a very "trusted" insider sounce (i have to assume it was bill cowher) that said the steelers absolutely LOVED dontari poe.

pretty much to the tune that if he woulda fallen he woulda been the selection.