Like many of you, I've wanted a NT for this defense since we switched to the 3-4 under Parcells. Maybe Josh Brent breaks out and allows Ratliff to move over to DE, but I don't want to rely on maybe. Besides, he's 320 and even though that's a good size, he's not the classic space-eater that most of the top 3-4 Ds have.
That's why I have been touting Dontari Poe along with free agent Paul Soliai. Well, after the Combine, I don't want to spend the money on Soliai, I want Poe. I don't think he's a reach at 14. We've heard the saying you can't teach speed, well, you can't teach someone how to be a massive athlete either. A player with Poe's numbers doesn't come along very often and as much as I love the thought of DeCastro or Ingram, the fact remains that we may not have another chance to draft a player with Poe's measurables for a long, long time.
I've seen some comments saying we should trade down and pick him up. I think anyone who believes we'd be able to pull that off may be kidding themselves. Say we move down to 21. I think he's gone at 18 to SD: a team that knows the importance of a NT as their D has never been the same since the departure of Jamal Williams. If for some reason he slips by them, there's no guarantee a team like the Steelers won't move up...Casey Hampton isn't a young buck anymore. I wouldn't want the Cowboys to outsmart themselves and lose out on not only Poe, but any other quality player they would have had by staying put.
In my opinion, Poe is the best choice for several reasons:
- He'd give us something we've never had in our 3-4 defense: a cornerstone NT, which is the most crucial position in a 3-4 defense, for the next 10+ years. Rat isn't getting any younger you know.
- Bringing him in would save wear and tear on Ratliff who could be moved to the end. Ratliff got two sacks last year...two! I love Rat, but I have to wonder if he's making Pro Bowls like Roy Williams and Gurode did in their later years with the Boys. Poe can at least equal those sacks with his quickness and strength. Rat would take less punishment and I believe we'd increase his longevity and his production would climb once again. He could be a 6-8 sack DE with the addition of Poe.
- In short yardage situations, lining Poe up next to Brent would give us quite a wall. Put Ratliff at one DE and Lissemore on the other and that's a front not many teams will be able to convert on.
- He would do a better job of collapsing the pocket than anyone we have and if the QB can't step up, he has less room to elude our OLBs (or DEs in the nickel). Less time, of course, makes our secondary look better.
- He can play DE as well as NT. The scouting reports have said, and his Combine numbers support, that he is athletic enough to play NT and the five technique. Ryan can really shake things up and confuse an offense if he has Poe at NT one play and DE the next.
Just for a little comparison, I found the Combine/Pro Day (if Combine was not available) numbers for a few NTs already in the league:
|Vert Jump||31 1/2||32||26 1/2||29 1/2|
I still love DeCastro and wouldn't complain if he was the pick...both lines need improvement. However, since Poe is the rarest of athletes and this is a deep class of guards, I'd rather grab him and a guard in the second or third round. If this team is going to stubbornly stay in the 3-4, it's time to run it properly.