In a News And Notes story filed for DraftInsider.net, Sports Illustrated's Tony Pauline has offered some insight into the Cowboys draft plans. Well, at least their draft plans for the time being. Apparently, the team was extra impressed (as most of the world was) with workout warrior Dontari Poe of Memphis and has it's eye on the Tiger for the 14th pick in the amateur draft.
- On the Monday of the combine, when we reported the Dallas Cowboys were the favorites to sign free agent cornerback Brandon Carr, we also posted the team was looking heavily at offensive lineman Cordy Glenn. Several sources have told us in recent weeks the franchise has shifted its focus to the defensive line and as of today Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe is the apple of their eyes.
The Cordy Glenn item makes sense if you connect the dots between Jerry Jones talking about not taking a guard at 14 and also trading down, as most mocks see Glenn as the second best offensive guard behind Stanford's David DeCastro. Glenn is normally projected 8-14 slots behind DeCastro.
When Dontari Poe performed at the Scouting Combine, he quickly endeared himself to many fans, and apparently front office types, who didn't previously have him on their radar. The mountain of a man stands 6'4", 346 lbs, but moves with cat-like agility. With all that girth, he ran a 4.86 40 yard dash and had a 1.68 10-yard split; a time comparable to edge rushers and linebackers. He bench pressed 225 lbs 44 times (best in group) and had a 9'9" broad jump.
To say he was impressive would be an understatement of the year. Dallas fans quickly began salivating over the idea of a Lissemore-Poe-Ratliff defensive line.
Follow the jump for more, and to see why we might want to listen to Pauline's predictions.
Unfortunately, all of the attention brought to light a couple of possibly nasty warts about Poe's motor and effort not being where it was supposed to be; including from his coach.
"Dontari is a powerful, powerful you man who has the potential to be the best defensive lineman I ever coached," offered Memphis defensive line coach Mike DuBose, who saw some pretty good DLs in his days as head coach at Alabama, where he won an SEC championship in 1999. DuBose says Poe often over-thinks what he is doing rather than just doing it and needs to just rely on his abilities more.
Opposing coaches, even in noting his lack of effort, said it did markedly improve this past season, and even still he was never on the ground; indicating great balance to go along with his athleticism.
Following those news cycles, our own Coty Saxman did a wonderful piece comparing Poe's pre-draft measurables with Haloti Ngata and Paul Soliai; concluding that he might not be the line penetrator being envisioned by fans.
During the NFL Scouting Combine, when and where there is usually a flurry of under-the-table activity between teams and agents of available talent, there seemed to be a dearth this year. About the only tangible nugget of information that leaked out that turned into a truism was a nugget that came from Sports Illustrated's Tony Pauline.
After word had leaked from unknown sources that Dallas was interested in Carr if he hit the open market (KC could have franchised him) Pauline predicted that the Cowboys and free agent cornerback Carr had googly eyes for each other and would ink a deal as soon as possible. Sure enough, Carr's first and only visit was with Dallas and he signed on the dotted line.
Now, whether Pauline's contacts were within Dallas' Valley Ranch or Carr's agents office we don't know. However, he did call the mutual interest first. Because of that, I'm inclined to put a little more weight behind his proclamations.
So what are your thoughts BTB? Would you be happy to hear Poe's name called come April 27th?
[UPDATE] Per Star Telegram's Clarence Hill, Poe has been invited to visit Valley Ranch this week as one of the Cowboys 30 national invites [/UPDATE]