As ESPN’s Bill Williamson surveys the AFC West and how each team fared in the 2012 NFL Draft that ended yesterday after a three day frenzy, there’s a lot to like and dislike given the amount of activity. But when he went to make his call on the riskiest move in the division, he also finds a move that could prove more risk or reward than any other in the entire draft: the Chiefs selection of Dontari Poe in the first round.
Everyone is familiar by now with the incredible NFL Combine performance of Poe as a defensive tackle. He displayed incredible strength and speed, and if that can translate to the pro level then the Chiefs will have what so few teams can boast about: an elite interior defensive lineman.
However, Poe’s game tape rarely showed that sort of disruption on a consistent basis, and certainly the level of competition at Memphis comes into play as well. Scott Pioli definitely went out on a limb here for many draft analysts.
Williamson writes, "But if Poe doesn’t develop, the Chiefs will get heat for not following the general consensus. The team has failed to hit a home run with recent picks on the defensive line, so the Chiefs have to make this work. Kansas City thinks Poe will excel under coach Romeo Crennel because he will concentrate on one position as opposed to having to play several spots as he did in college. If the Chiefs are right, this will be a big score. If not, they’ll be forever reminded of it."
The Chiefs have eliminated many holes so this was a risk worth taking for the front office. Pioli and Romeo Crennel both came out after the first round and were confident in the tape they saw and in their staff to help Poe make the transition. The Chiefs will need to disrupt the pocket in the AFC West against quarterbacks like Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning twice each season. They're hoping they now have their man in the middle.
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