The greatest perceived need for the Kansas City Chiefs heading into the 2012 NFL Draft is likely to be at defensive tackle. Most NFL analysts identify the lack of an impact player at nose tackle for the Chiefs, and Michael Brockers and Dontari Poe are the names most commonly mentioned in mocks for the Chiefs at the position. But Peter King believes that Scott Pioli would pass if confronted with the option, despite the notion that the Chiefs will likely take someone to play DT from this draft class.
Kelly Gregg is no certainty to return (or even play) next season. While last year’s sixth rounder Jerrell Powe holds promise, he’s an obvious developmental tackle at this point. So the Chiefs are likely to strike somewhere. Poe, however, will not be the guy according to King’s latest column for Sports Illustrated.
King writes, “Here’s my biggest question about Poe: For such a marvelously disruptive pocket-presser, how did he have eight tackles for loss and one sack in 12 games last year? I can’t see Carolina reaching for Poe at 9, and I can’t see Kansas City taking him because of his poor college production, but I do think he’ll go somewhere soon after that. I could see Jets coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who had Ngata at Baltimore, thinking they can make history repeat itself with Poe.”
If the Chiefs believe he has Ngata like potential, then that’s a choice worth making every time. To have such an incredible anchor in the defensive interior would make the Chiefs front seven among the top units in the league. That said, there’s no way of knowing and Poe is simply not a safe option at a draft slot where many other safe options should remain.
The Chiefs can reach for a project later, but to ignore a linebacker like Luke Kuechly or a guard like David DeCastro for the sake of a project lineman is likely not going to happen. King is right in his assumptions and Poe will likely be someone else’s boom or bust after draft weekend.