Criticism of Dontari Poe could be coming from those who covet him


In order to get through the entirety of the pre-draft process without having one’s head explode, it’s important to have the proper perspective and context when hearing that a player is suddenly rising or falling on draft boards, as multiple teams that are sharing no information with each other are somehow magically coming to the same conclusions about the same players.

Here’s all you need to know:  Teams will say bad things about players they like, and good things about players they don’t.

The logic is simple (which barely qualifies me to understand it).  A team that secretly covets a player hopes to scare off teams drafting higher on the board, so that the player will be there when the team that likes a player just enough to say terrible things about him is on the clock.  A team that secretly hates a player will talk him up so that someone drafting before that team will take that player and push farther down the board players that the sweet-talking team truly wants.

Writers facing internal and external competition won’t always (or, as the case may be, ever) scrutinize the sources when being spoon-fed such information.  Instead, they’ll blindly apply a label that implies credibility and conveys anonymity, type it up, and hope that the editor will be placated.

It’s a no-risk proposition.  If a scout or other personnel executive is truly expressing a given view, that person’s motivation doesn’t matter.  It helps create copy, which helps sell papers and/or generate page views.

That’s why we remain highly skeptical of the rash of stories in which draft experts claim that teams don’t like Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe.  Under the loose rules of pre-draft propaganda, the positive assessments should outweigh the negative on Poe, because teams drafting in the teens should be hoping that some sucker takes Dontari and leaves on the board a better player.

As Peter King of pointed out earlier this week, the “widest disparity” of opinion exists as to Poe.  This likely means that, regardless of reasons for the things that anyone is saying about Poe, at least one team truly covets him — and it’s likely that it’s one of the teams saying bad things about him.

If Poe goes in the middle of the first round, it won’t be a dispositive assessment of the say-one-thing-do-another rule of thumb, but it could give those writers who are pushing uniformly negative views on Poe reason to squirm.

Of course, that would assume that there’s actually any accountability that attaches to the reporters who make broad, sweeping proclamations about a player before the draft.  There isn’t.  After the draft, it’s all forgotten — and then the hype/hate machine goes into limbo and fires up again in January.

26 responses to “Criticism of Dontari Poe could be coming from those who covet him

  1. The biggest criticism of Dontari Poe is his game tape. While undoubtedly a guy with tremendous athletic potential, Poe was literally single blocked by nameless competition in C-USA.

    Poe has tremendous bust potential, and any team that drafts him realizes this fact.

    Selecting him before the 20’s will be an even bigger reach than taking Tannehill in the top 5.

  2. Poe will go to the first team on the clock that prefers to ignore film and draft solely by measureables.

  3. It would be great to have some “expert” analyze the actual draft in relation to the pre-hype and speculation. It may be a big undertaking, but it would be interesting to see which teams did the best to cloud issues, bluff and outright scam the other teams. Who didn’t do a good job would also be a part of that analysis, I guess.

  4. Scouts share information all the time. It’s just that everyone looks for different qualities, and scouts interpret those differently. And then it’s up to the GM to make the final interpretation. But the basics are shared.

  5. I doubt that teams are basing their player rankings on what anonymous scouts are saying to the media.

  6. James Harrison played in the MAC against lesser competition and didn’t produce any stellar game tape either.

    All he has to show for it is 2 Superbowl rings, a defensive player of the year honor, and 5 trips to the pro bowl.

    I also remember the pre-draft knock on Clay Matthews was that he had a very average college career.

  7. All anyone has to do is watch his game against Arkansas State and Tulane to understand why someone might be saying negative things about him.

    Poe is a workout warrior whose admittedly off the charts athletic ability simply doesn’t translate to the field. He’s one of those guys that has world class athletic ability, but he simply can’t play football. He gets by in lower level Div 1 because of said athletic ability, but, if you watch the tape, he doesn’t have that ‘football’ sense NFL players need to have. At the NFL level the disparity in athletic talent isn’t as great as it is in College (especially the lower half of Div 1). Poe is this years Mike Mamula – looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.

    Poe has horrible technique, he literally stands straight up at the snap and then tries to penetrate. The 240lb Guard At Ark St easily handled him one on one. The only thing Poe was good at was when the play came straight at him, he was hard to move, but you need more than that from a DT taken in the top half of rd 1.

  8. Hell, Adrian Peterson was dissed by some teams and coveted by others so even he had a sort of stigma that teams passed on and basicly got sucked on.
    He should have gone a lot sooner than he did so his loss to teams who could have taken him was the Vikings gain.

  9. Smoke screens are regular around this time. As for the success of Poe. I have him as the 32nd best player in this draft based on athletic potential alone. I have large concerns about him. He lacks any aggression. Lacks a consistent motor. He has so much to learn about the game of football. With his strength, he should have thrown his competition around like rag dolls. Much like Amini Silatolu did at Midwestern State. Can Poe become a great player? Absolutely. But he’s a long, long term project.

  10. Everyone was surprised when he ran a great 40 time at the combine (for a DT) because….he never had to do it in a game because…well…its not part of football!! how did he do shedding blockers? Double teams? My UH coogs played him every year, and I never heard of him.

  11. Yeah. I remember Bill Belichek talking up Tebow and mini-Bill (McDaniel) drafting him with the Bronco’s #1pick. Worked out well eh Josh?

  12. I’m surprised Belicheck isn’t talking him up in the hopes the Jets blow their 1st rounder on him, or even better, trading up for him.

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