2012 NFL Draft: Houston Texans Edition – Part 1


With the season over for the Houston Texans the front office now begins to shift gears and prepare for the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft. Sure, the Pro Bowl is a few weeks away but nobody really cares about a game that does not matter. So, looking ahead to the upcoming draft the Texans must assess their needs in terms of players who will become free agents, depth at each position, and filling the holes of players they intend to release.

That being said, one of the positions most lacking in depth, for the Texans, is that of nose-tackle (NT). Currently the position is being manned by Texans funny-man Shaun Cody. Cody has done a tremendous job of applying pressure alongside DE J.J. Watt and Antonio Smith the fact that the Texans have only one true NT is quite disheartening.

The Texans have seen what can happen to a team when they lose some of their most valuable players – right now Cody is one of those players if not for the fact that he is the only one truly skilled to play at his position.

However, the Texans could use a fresh pair of legs at the position. Especially if those legs were those of a 6’5″, 350 pound wrecking ball named Dontari Poe. 

Historically, NTs have been a hot commodity in the early rounds. With the Texans drafting at #26 this year the odds of signing Poe seem to be less than optimal. However, after evaluating the needs of other teams in the league, I am slightly optimistic that the Texans could, in fact, land Poe. Besides the Chicago Bears, most teams in the league do not seem to have a pressing need for a DT in the first round. This could be a blessing-in-disguise for the Texans.

Poe is currently a junior at the University of Memphis. According to GoTigersGo.com he had the following achievements in 2009 and 2010:

"2009: Named to C-USA All-Freshman Team……Led the team in TFLs with seven, and tied for the team lead in forced fumbles (3)…Tied for third on the team in sacks (2)…Finished the year with 27 tackles, including 18 solo stops…Ranked tied for 31st nationally in forced fumbles per game (.27) and fifth in C-USA…Racked up four solo tackles against Middle Tennessee, including two TFLs for a loss of six yards and a sack for a loss of three yards…Recorded two tackles in a start against Marshall, including a sack for a loss of one yard that resulted in a fumble that was recovered by the Herd…Credited with two tackles against UTEP, including a TFL for a loss of a yard…Tallied two solo tackles against Southern Miss and had his third forced fumble in four games…Posted two solo tackles in a start against Tennessee…Tallied one tackle against UAB, a TFL for a loss of a yard…Started against Tulsa and logged two tackles, including an assisted TFL for a loss of two yards.2010: Named as an honorable mention All-C-USA selection in 2010…Opened the season with three tackles, all of which were solo stops, against Mississippi State…All three of his tackles limited the Bulldogs to three or fewer yards, and one was for a loss of four yards…Set a season high mark with seven tackles versus UTEP…Sacked UTEP’s Trevor Vittatoe in the first quarter for a loss of five yards…Had another big game against Louisville with six tackles, four of which were solo stops…Logged at least three tackles in the next three games, including a five-tackle effort versus Marshall…Tied a career mark with two TFL against Southern Miss, and didn’t give way to Southern Miss gaining more than two yards on his stops…Registered his second sack of the season, for a loss of 11 yards, against Marshall…Closed the season with three tackles, one of which was for a loss of three yards, against UCF…Ended the year ranked fifth on the team in tackles with 41, and fourth in TFL with 6.5…His TFLs generated losses of 27 yards…Was presented one of the Leadership Awards by the coaching staff at the 2011 Blue-Gray Game…Was voted by the media as the Defensive MVP of the 2011 Blue-Gray Game."

Needless to say this kid shows some signs of promise. In his two years at Memphis he has recorded 68 tackles, six forced fumbles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and four sacks.

Many scouting reports indicate that his athleticism is unreal for someone his size. That he has a fantastic combination of size, bulk, length and strength. They also say he has a better motor than you would expect out of a 350 pound prospect (this must be music to the Texans’ ears). However, they also indicate that his draft stock in primarily based on “potential” at this point.

If there is anything, though, that Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips can capitalize on…it is potential.

Poe is a favorite of mine for the first round with the Texans. Should he fall low enough, and the Texans be fortunate enough, I see them pursuing this young man with their first-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

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