Vikings Draft Targets 2012: Defensive Tackle Dontari Poe

Oct 29, 2011; Orlando, FL, USA; Memphis Tigers defensive lineman Dontari Poe (74) during warmups prior to the game against the UCF Knights at Bright House Networks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Dontari Poe’s draft stock has been all over the place these last couple months. He started out as a second round guy, then he posted insane numbers at the combine and shot way up, all the way into the top 10 on some people’s boards. Then the tape jockeys started picking apart his game film from his Memphis days and things seemed to cool. The consensus that’s formed on Poe now is that he’s an incredible raw talent, emphasis on raw. He looks great in shorts as the Mike Mayocks of the world say, but despite his physical gifts he doesn’t beat blockers consistently enough and there are major technique issues that will have to be smoothed out in the pros.

Despite the negative reviews on Poe’s game tape, most experts still expect him to go in the teens if not the top 10. This would seem to take him out of play for the Vikings who, barring a trade, will be picking too high and too low. But the Vikings are still intrigued by Poe, and reportedly had him in for a visit. Poe joins Morris Claiborne, Trumaine Johnson, Dre Kirkpatrick and Ron Brooks on the short list of interesting defensive prospects who have been personally looked over by the Vikings during their evaluation process.

The secondary has obviously been the main target area for people speculating on the Vikings’ draft plans, but defensive tackle shouldn’t be overlooked. The Vikes would seem to have the situation well in hand at the 3-tech position with Kevin Williams still performing at a high level and Christian Ballard developing behind him, but the nose position is a different story. Remi Ayodele was supposed to be the solution there at least in the short term but he stunk big time last year and was let go. Letroy Guion was given a healthy contract and is expected to start in Ayodele’s place with Fred Evans rotating in, but Guion feels like more of a place-holder than a solution despite Leslie Frazier’s glowing words about him, and Evans certainly isn’t anyone’s idea of a long-term answer.

Dontari Poe would be a massive upgrade over Guion and Evans at least in terms of raw ability. If Poe were to develop as people hope, he could bring back the kind of domination Viking fans grew used to when Pat Williams lined up at the nose. Leslie Frazier saw first hand the kind of havoc that can be wreaked by a quick, powerful, penetrating tackle combo, and he would certainly love to re-capture that magic by lining up a new version of Fat Pat alongside K-Will. There are other interesting tackle prospects in the draft, including Michael Brockers, Jerel Worthy and Alameda Ta’amu, but none of those guys seem to have Poe’s potential.

Like I said before, the Vikings’ chances of landing Poe right now are nil. Poe would only come into play if the Vikes swing some kind of deal with a team in that 8-16 range. The Dolphins, Bills, Chiefs and Eagles are four teams believed to have interest in moving up, with Ryan Tannehill as their target. A trade-down from 3 to something in the 8-16 area would require a hefty bounty of picks in return, but we know how much teams value quarterbacks like Tannehill, so the idea of someone giving up multiple picks for the #3 can’t be entirely dismissed. Someone out there might be willing to make the trade, and if the trade does happen, Poe could become the Vikings’ target even over Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright or Dre Kirkpatrick.

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Topics: Dontari Poe, Dre Kirkpatrick, Michael Floyd, Minnesota Vikings, Ryan Tannehill

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