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Steelers consider Dontari Poe as Casey Hampton’s heir apparent

2012 NFL Combine Getty Images

After Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe’s stunning performance at the Scouting Combine, there was talk that he could be a Top 5 pick. Then everyone remembered that football isn’t played in shorts and a T-shirt, and that defensive tackles aren’t asked to run 40 yards in a straight line, jump as far as they can or lift 225 pounds straight above their bodies, and Poe has settled in as a prospect who looks like he’ll go somewhere in the middle or late first round. And maybe as far down as No. 24, to the Steelers.

Poe visited the Steelers on Wednesday, and he’s being discussed in Pittsburgh as a potential replacement to their longtime starting nose tackle, Casey Hampton.

Although Hampton remained with the Steelers after he agreed to restructure his contract and clear more than $3 million in cap space, he doesn’t have much time left in Pittsburgh. Hampton is 34 years old and probably won’t be ready to start the season after undergoing ACL surgery.

The Steelers would love to acquire an enormous young nose tackle to serve as Hampton’s heir apparent, and the 6-foot-4, 346-pound Poe may be just the man for the job. Some scouts have said they’re not impressed with Poe’s motor or his production in college, but it’s impossible to overlook his talent. If the Steelers can draft him and develop him, they may have a future Pro Bowl nose tackle on the way in just as their Pro Bowl nose tackle of the past is on the way out.

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36 Responses to “Steelers consider Dontari Poe as Casey Hampton’s heir apparent”
  1. rc33 says: Apr 19, 2012 11:08 AM

    44 reps at the Combine.
    Excellent speed and agility.
    346 lbs.
    The absolute blueprint for an NFL Nose Tackle.

    Just don’t watch the game film unless you appreciate a whole lotta standing around.

  2. vtdcfan says: Apr 19, 2012 11:12 AM

    this dude feels way too much like a bust to go in the first round. no denying his incredible athletic ability in gym shorts at the combine, but his numbers on the field or lack of numbers speaks volumes about his value. could be a project type guy that ends up working out great but I’d stay away in round 1 .

  3. putyournameonit says: Apr 19, 2012 11:13 AM

    The guy comes in for a visit, 1 of 30 I mind you and he is labeled as the heir apparent. Where is the other 29 articles labeling players who visited as the heir apparent?

    As a Steeler fan I sure hope his name isn’t called with the 24th pick.

  4. bathroombenlovemachine says: Apr 19, 2012 11:18 AM

    Ben TakeTheFurBurger is begging the front office to draft this guy. Big Ben loves to watch large African American males take showers.

  5. nflofficeadmin says: Apr 19, 2012 11:19 AM

    Go for it.

  6. icdogg says: Apr 19, 2012 11:24 AM

    seems like he would be a good fit.

  7. cf17 says: Apr 19, 2012 11:24 AM

    This dude scares me. you never want to hear about motor issues.

  8. 3yardsndust says: Apr 19, 2012 11:33 AM

    I think the Steelers can train and motivate him to reach his potential. Good pick with a lot of upside. Guys with this size and skill are difficult to find.

  9. eaglesw00t says: Apr 19, 2012 11:34 AM

    Haynesworth comes to mind.

    Ive watched him play, and he looks very average. In college. Against mediocre talent.

    For this kid to go first round, he should be dominating the talent at his level. If a team can get him to practice hard and work on his actual football skills, he might be good.

    But he doesnt appear to try hard at all in college, which is a problem to me as an NFL team looking for the BPA in round one.

  10. shotgunformation5wide says: Apr 19, 2012 11:34 AM

    I think its safe to say we were spoiled with Smith, Hampton and Keisel. I just hope the new blood is up to the task.

  11. contract says: Apr 19, 2012 11:48 AM

    There’s nothing wrong with Poe’s motor. He just doesn’t have any instinct for the game of football.

  12. deebo92 says: Apr 19, 2012 11:50 AM

    I could have told you this. As a Steelers fan, I don’t want him. I’d rather get Casey’s heir apparent in the later rounds or next year. Plus, I think some organization is going to take him higher than pick no. 24

  13. gpatrick15 says: Apr 19, 2012 11:54 AM

    If LeBeau can get him to play consistent defense instead of standing around while the play goes on around him, then it’ll be a good pick. Casey Hampton is old and coming off an ACl tear. Ziggy Hood will probably play NT for the first few games and then we groom Poe (if he’s the pick) into the NT of the future.

  14. st1llerz1 says: Apr 19, 2012 12:03 PM

    One good thing about drafting these guys that project as unbelievably talented is that they are no longer paid a boatload of money for potential. The new rookie wage cap precludes the Ryan Leaf’s of this world from being set up with enough money to take care of their grandkid’s grandkids.

    That being said, I have the utmost faith in the Steelers front office. They brought this kid in for a reason. I’m sure they picked his brain and asked the right questions to evaluate whether or not he’s the answer to replace Big Snack in the near future.

    GO STEELERS!

  15. joemammy says: Apr 19, 2012 12:03 PM

    I hope the Steelers go this route. Alex Mack will have this guy eating dirt.

  16. dspyank2k11 says: Apr 19, 2012 12:21 PM

    im sorry, did the draft even happen yet?

  17. steveohho says: Apr 19, 2012 12:31 PM

    I wonder if this is another BS smoke screen the Steelers (I am sure all NFL teams do it) would use to get other teams who need a NT to draft Poe so the Steelers can go with someone else. Noise.

  18. okiesteeler says: Apr 19, 2012 12:33 PM

    I hope the Steelers take Hightower. I think Poe will end up slipping to 2nd round and would feel better if Steelers take him later.

  19. steel2372 says: Apr 19, 2012 12:40 PM

    I hope they dont take this guy if he has motor issues. I would love to see hightower in the burg. We can pick up a good defensive tackle in the 2nd or 3rd. To me, Hightower would really help that defense this year and years to come. Not sure what the Steelers are looking at for first round pick.

  20. jtm12180 says: Apr 19, 2012 12:47 PM

    I also am hoping we draft Hightower….that kid was born to be a Steeler!

  21. ernie ernie says: Apr 19, 2012 12:47 PM

    A very good fit for Pittsburg. He can help hold up the old folks that he will be surrounded by.

  22. kenny328usa says: Apr 19, 2012 1:01 PM

    I cant wait until about midseason when yinz stiller fans realize that your team is old and washed up and your championship window has closed.

  23. dempsey63 says: Apr 19, 2012 1:10 PM

    A guy named Poe is a perfect fit for the Ravens. Heck, if he’s a stiff, I’ll even supply the roses and cognac.

  24. rexismybff says: Apr 19, 2012 2:01 PM

    bathroombenlovemachine says:
    Apr 19, 2012 11:18 AM
    Ben TakeTheFurBurger is begging the front office to draft this guy. Big Ben loves to watch large African American males take showers.

    =========================

    Have you made Ben aware of your fantasies involving him?

  25. skinsfan87 says: Apr 19, 2012 2:03 PM

    Haynesworth in the making??

  26. urworstnitemare58 says: Apr 19, 2012 2:04 PM

    Wow! There is someone else in the draft besides RG3?

  27. flybirdhaters27 says: Apr 19, 2012 2:15 PM

    What is Nigel “Big Jelly” Dixon up to these days? Former FSU starting center in basketball (seriously) and every bit of 6’10” 390 lbs. Sounds like a perfect NT to me!

  28. holeinone09 says: Apr 19, 2012 2:32 PM

    Please take the best non-center OL available in the first round. After that, go for defensive help.

  29. ncsteeler says: Apr 19, 2012 3:33 PM

    Picking late in the first round you’re unlikely to get someone who has had a great unblemished college career against top level talent. You’re more likely to get someone who seems to have all the talent in the world but a questional college resume such as Poe or someone who seems NFL ready but not quite the athlete it would take to be a top ten pick like Hightower. (sometimes you get lucky and somebody falls into your lap like Rogers to GB) Personally, I’d go with Hightower (unless an OL feel but they seldom do) but I’m not sure what 2nd-3rd round talent and that could shape the decision.

    BTW Recall about 40 years ago in the 1st round the Steelers took a running back out of Penn State who had some issues regarding effort in college. What ever became of that guy anyway? Effort can really change when dollars are involved.

  30. Deb says: Apr 19, 2012 3:44 PM

    Colbert usually does right by us, but like holeinone09, I want to see us take an offensive lineman. We’ve put the o-line on the back burner for too long, and the situation is critical. Other people can fill Casey’s shoes for the next couple of years. Our needs at offensive line are immediate and desperate.

  31. originalsteelcurtain says: Apr 19, 2012 3:51 PM

    What kind of tape do you need to see for a guy who’s job will be to tie up 2 O-Linemen while remaining immovable?

    Poe won’t be asked to make sacks or even many tackles in Pittsburgh.

    This freakishly athletic large man has too much Poe-tential to last past Philly @ #16.

  32. mackie66 says: Apr 19, 2012 4:13 PM

    The combine is called the Underwear Olympics by Mr Floriooo, so how can anyone have a “stunning preformance” while clad in underwear?

  33. granadafan says: Apr 19, 2012 4:26 PM

    Agreed with other posters who compare Poe to Haynesworth or even Mike Mamula. Very athletic but lazy or no instincts to play.

  34. eggersthejerk says: Apr 19, 2012 7:18 PM

    Pittsburgh has a bigger worry than that.

    The team has to be nervous over the fact that their diva QB hasn’t done something insanely stupid in a while. He’s long overdo.

    Hopefully for their sake they will put a “shadow” on this clod and make sure he stays off of motorcycles and out of barroom bathrooms.

  35. mostlombardisintheleague says: Apr 20, 2012 4:11 PM

    Game film/performance should precede everything else, that’s what the job is, not some obstacle course for 16 weeks. However consider that Hampton mostly does this – draws not one but two O lineman to him and clogs holes, not alot of running and jumping there. Maybe Poe’s size (like Hampton’s) is what they consider a good fit and that Hampton can teach him his tricks of the trade. So would it be less riskier to get a smaller man with better game performance – or not ?

  36. erniecohen says: Apr 26, 2012 9:35 AM

    What I don’t get is why everybody talks about him demanding double teams. I watched a bunch of game film, and he was often being handled, and on occasion even dominated, by a single guard.

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