More and more NFL teams are shifting towards base 3-4 defenses these days, and that makes the nose tackle position in the 3-4 in high demand. Unfortunately, the demand exceeds the supply. With that in mind, here are five potential nose tackle targets for the Kansas City Chiefs in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft.
The Chiefs could have a tough time finding the right player for the job. This draft has a number of potential starters at the position, but none of them come without questions regarding how they will project at the NFL level. Here are five that could sport a KC uniform when all is said and done:
1. Dontari Poe - Memphis - 6'4", 346 lbs
Poe had an incredible Combine performance for a man of his size, running in the 4.90s in the 40-yard dash and impressing in on the field drills. But as you have probably heard by now, his combine performance and amazing athletic ability hasn't translated to the field. He had little production against small school competition at Memphis, which is a red flag in itself for someone with his skill set and physical gifts.
There are also questions regarding Poe's motor from his time at Memphis, raising another red flag. With all that in mind, Poe is still an incredible athlete, with incredible potential. If Poe is ever able to play to that potential with NFL coaching and a consistent effort, he can become one of the better interior linemen in the NFL. But that is a big if, and is a risky first round proposition for any team that takes him, especially in the Top 15.
2. Alameda Ta'amu - Washington - 6'3", 348 lbs
Ta'amu is a very solid and steady player who will be a starter in the NFL, most likely in a 3-4. Ta'amu is very good against the run. He eats up blockers and clogs running lanes, allowing his linebackers to make plays on the ball. Ta'amu isn't much of a pass rusher or up field penetrator but he won't need to be in the NFL. There will definitely be a place for his type of skill set, even if his pass rushing skills need development. Ta'amu would be a very solid pick in the second if the Chiefs don't address the position in the first.
3. Josh Chapman - Alabama - 6'1", 316 lbs
Chapman is an unspectacular yet underrated player who was overlooked on the best defense in the country last year. Chapman is great against the run and underrated against the pass. He will likely play strictly on early downs in his first season or two, but has the chance to develop into an every down defender. He plays with good technique and was well-coached in the pro style 3-4 defense at Alabama. Chapman played a portion of the year with a partially torn ACL last year at Alabama, and while his play suffered, it shows Chapman's toughness and will to play through an injury like that.
4. Hebron Fangupo - BYU - 6'1", 325 lbs
Fangupo is a developmental player at the nose tackle position who has natural size for the position. Fangupo has a good motor, is a surprisingly solid athlete, and works hard. He still needs to work on his technique and will likely be a backup caliber player for the first few years that he is in an NFL program. But with time and coaching, Fangupo has the ability to develop into a starter at the nose position with his natural athletic ability and work ethic.
5. Nicolas Jean-Baptiste - Baylor - 6'2", 335 lbs
Baptiste has the natural size and strength that you look for in a nose tackle prospect in a 3-4 defense, although that size/strength doesn't always translate to success for him on the field. Baptiste is an average athlete with a decent first step. Baptiste struggles with technique at times getting too high off the snap, and struggles with hand use. He is a hard-worker with a good motor, and is someone who will likely a roster, because of the intrigue he provides as a prospect and as a player. Baptiste has the potential to be a solid contributing player in the league as a rotational defensive lineman.