At the recent NFL combine Poe came in and weighed 346 lbs. He's carrying that weight on 6 foot 4 inch frame and using it to post a mind boggling 4.98 in the 40 yard dash. This has a lot of people excited about the big man and certainly solidified him as a 1st round pick. Many were already projecting him as a 1st rounder, but the combine eliminated all doubts. SBNation.com's NFL draft page recently put out a post-combine mock draft that had Poe being selected by the Chargers with the 18th overall pick. Here's what was said about him:
Poe was a big winner at the Combine. At 346 pounds, he looked more explosive than players half his size, earning perfectly reasonable comparisons to Ravens' defensive lineman Haloti Ngata. The Chargers could use an outside linebacker, but their pass rush will benefit significantly from the addition of Poe. San Diego also had the worst defensive line in the league in the power department, according to Football Outsiders. Opponents either got a new set of downs or scored when facing third or fourth downs with two yards or less to go. Poe upgrades the entire defense.
All the talk surrounding the Chargers draft pick seems to focus on a pass rusher, an offensive lineman, a safety or a wide receiver. But, why not a nose tackle? Especially if that nose tackle is being compared to Haloti Ngata. Cam Thomas is expected to be the starter at the position and he began to show some promise last season, but there aren't many ready to say he's going to become a top gap plugger in this league and even less that think he has the durability to play as many snaps in a game as Jamal Williams did in his prime. As the comment alludes to, there is the thought that getting a dominant NT in a 3-4 defense will make everyone better and I can't necessarily argue with that logic. If you can get a potential Pro Bowl caliber player at pick 18, then you should do it, even if it's not a top position of need.
That being said, if you follow that link labeled "Poe was a big winner at the Combine" you'll notice that there's talk that he could go even higher than pick 18. Mel Kiper, Jr. backed this up today with a tweet:
Haloti Ngata went 12th overall to Balt in 2006. Dontari Poe could go 11 to KC this year.— Mel Kiper Jr. (@MelKiperESPN) March 1, 2012
He also moved Poe up to #11 on his Big Board. Up from #16 last week. So, even though we should entertain (and perhaps even relish in) the idea of the Chargers drafting someone to take over the NT position, it's by no means something that's looking likely.