- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe is the perfect fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who need to find the heir apparent to nose tackle Casey Hampton. Most mock drafts agreed, linking Poe to the Steelers' 24th overall pick in the first round.
But Poe won't be there when the Steelers are picking at that point. Not after his "epic" showing at the NFL combine.
Poe's numbers produced at the combine compare favorably to the ones recorded by Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Even though Ngata was a more polished player coming out of college, Poe is projected to go in the middle of the first round (Ngata was taken 12th overall).
Everyone knew Poe was strong. He backed that up when he had 44 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press -- which was 16 above the average for defensive tackles over the past four combines. What really stood out was Poe's speed. He ran a jaw-dropping official time of 4.98 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
You got the feeling that Poe would enjoy getting drafted by the Steelers. He has definitely followed Hampton's career.
"He's aggressive. He's one of the more aggressive defensive tackles this league has seen," Poe said at the combine. "His hand strength. Once he gets his hands on you, he kind of controls you. That's probably what I admire most about him."
Luckily for the Steelers, this is a deep draft for nose tackles. BYU's Hebron Fangupo, Washington's Alameda Ta'amu (who had the third-slowest 40 time among defensive tackles) and Alabama's Josh Chapman are expected to be taken from the second to fourth rounds.