Twelve hours ago Memphis NT Dontari Poe was seen as a solid second round selection. A player who didn't have dominating performances, or come from a signature program- but whose near 350lb frame would be reason alone for a 3-4 team to take him early in the hopes of honing his skills.
Now as the sun sets Poe is a 'lock' first rounder, mocks are being revised and even Panthers fans are salivating at the prospect of a 350lb man who runs faster than Ndamukong Suh. In a perfect world the pundits would be right, in the perfect world all the questions at DT for the Carolina Panthers would be answered; unfortunately the world isn't perfect, and neither is Dontari Poe.
More after the jump
Each year we are encountered with workout warriors, and each year history seems to repeat itself. We see a player who doesn't have a great body of work turn up to Indy with a great body, then work- all of a sudden they are plucked from obscurity and turned into the NFL elite by a love-struck media.
One of the knocks on Michael Brockers during this pre-draft process was his lack of stats. Even though he was a primarily rotational player there is a wide belief he should have put up more than 54 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF and an INT. Fans of Brockers will point to his age, and a brutal SEC schedule as reasons for this lack of production. His critics will say this is the tip of the iceberg.
What then do we make of Poe? A player who finished the season at Memphis with 14 tackles and one sack. The currently popular argument is that Poe didn't go to a huge program, and as such he didn't have any talent on his defensive line to help him, whereas Michael Brockers had a stacked LSU defense to aide him. My response: I wonder if Jason Pierre-Paul felt he needed justification coming out of South Florida.
First day of watching the combine. What a waste of time! Just watch the film.— Wes Welker (@WesWelker) February 27, 2012
I think deep down we all have this innate desire to pull for the underdog. We love to see the horse nobody picked make a late break and scoot across the finish line. Unfortunately what nobody tells you is that those late breakers rarely, if ever place again, while those with a long understood pedigree don't need to hang their hat on one win, they're back on the podium in no time.
For one day in February wearing shorts that were too short, and a shirt that was too tight Dontari Poe ran like the Flash, but I can't help but feel like this moment was an out of body experience. I just don't see it... and I hope the Panthers don't either.
Supplied for your viewing Poe's game vs. Arkansas State from this year. It was his best game of the season where he finished with 5 tackles.
Dontari Poe (via ldawg0073)
Editor's note: There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding Poe's 2011 college stats. At the time of this writing ESPN.com was showing 14 total tackles, they now show 22 total. Meanwhile CBS Sports are quoting 33 tackles.