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NFL Draft 2012: Dontari Poe Could Become Chiefs' Version Of Vince Wilfork

The common sense choice for the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft seems to lean toward an offensive tackle. Barry Richardson has been the starter there and was continually listed among the worst in the league. Now that he’s a free agent, the team has a hole at starter and already suffered from lack of depth. The pick just makes sense for someone like Jonathan Martin or Riley Reiff to fill the role.

But lately the NFL Combine results of Dontari Poe and the additional need of the Chiefs at defensive tackle could alter those plans. Poe was nothing short of a revelation at the recent Combine in Indianapolis, and his measureables have everyone comparing him to the best nose tackles in the business. The Memphis product says he models his game on Casey Hampton, so he could prove too tempting to ignore. Steve Muench says the Chiefs could grab him even as high as No. 11:

It’s understandable that much has been made of the 6-3, 346-pound Poe running a 4.98-second 40-yard dash and bench-pressing 225 pounds 44 times. Those are remarkable numbers, but his 10-yard split (1.63) in the 40 and the foot speed he showed during bag work are even more impressive. Poe is now drawing favorable comparisons to Baltimore’s Haloti Ngata and New England’s Vince Wilfork in terms of size and agility.

He should have plenty of suitors given that Poe is big enough to anchor the middle of a three-man front, and athletic enough to line up at defensive tackle in a four man front. However, he is a raw prospect and might be a better fit for a one-gap scheme that simply asks him to explode upfield, rather than a two-gap scheme that requires him to stay low and control blockers with his hands. The Kansas City Chiefs (No. 11) need help at nose tackle, and Poe is such a unique talent the Chiefs could reach for him even if he isn’t an ideal fit at this point.

The Chiefs currently only have Jerrell Powe, last year’s sixth rounder, and Anthony Toribio on the roster and both are unproven. The team simply must make a move on some level to fortify the position. If Scott Pioli can land his Wilfork of the West, that’d be a difficult addition to pass on.