Dontari Poe*, DT/NT, Memphis
Height: 6-4. Weight: 346. 40 Time: 4.87. 10-Yd Split: 1.68. Bench: 44. Vertical: 29.5. Broad: 9-9. Arm: 32. Projected Round (2012): Top 25. 3/13/12: Over the last month, Poe has been on the short list of players who has improved their stock the most. He had a dominant Combine, with an astounding 40 time for such a heavy tackle. Poe also led the Combine in the bench press along with showing movement skills in the field drills. It truly was a unique performance that caused big headlines.
Poe moved his stock into the top 20 and possibly the top 10 with his Combine performance. Some teams may prefer other first-round tackles because of scheme fits, but he shouldn't get out of the top-25 picks.
The biggest issue for Poe and his draft stock is a lack of production. With his power and athleticism, one would think he would have posted more numbers with a bigger impact, especially at his level of competition. In 2011, Poe totaled 33 tackles with eight tackles for a loss, one sack and one forced fumble. He did not play very well against Mississippi State in the first game of the season and closed out the year without a tackle for a loss in the last four games. Poe's best game came against SMU when he registered a sack-fumble and three tackles.
Poe is a space eater who takes on multiple blocks. Even when his pad level is off, he is hard to move at the line of scrimmage. Poe pursues plays extremely well.
8/28/11: Dontari Poe is a massive defensive lineman who could be a 3-4 nose tackle at the next level. He is a powerful force at the line of scrimmage that offensive linemen struggle to move. Poe recorded 41 tackles and with 6.5 tackles for a loss last season. He got a good amount of playing time as a freshman. If Poe has a strong season, he could enter the draft as their is usually a limited amount of true nose tackles in each draft class.
Alameda Ta'amu, DT/NT, Washington
Height: 6-3. Weight: 348. 40 Time: 5.34. 10-Yd Split: 1.78. Bench: 35. Vertical: 26. Broad: 8-7. Arm: 32. Hand: 9 7/8. Projected Round (2012): 2-3. 3/13/12: Ta'amu was solid but didn't stand out at the Combine. He followed his 2011 trend with an inconsistent showing at the Senior Bowl. All year, Ta'amu waffled between times when he was a real force and stretches when he was very quiet.
At times as a senior, Ta'amu was a load at the line of scrimmage, but he was inconsistent. Ta'amu ate up double teams and had success plugging his gap in run defense. He also had some quality plays collapsing the pocket with a bull rush. Against Stanford, Ta'amu was neutralized by the Cardinal's strong offensive line. After that game, he was quiet for some time but finished the regular season on a high note with two sacks, 2.5 tackles for a loss and four tackles against Washington State.
However, Ta'amu was a non-factor in a high-scoring Alamo Bowl against Baylor. In 2011, he had 30 tackles with seven tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks.
8/28/11: Alameda Ta'amu was a tough run stuffer as a junior. He recorded 39 tackles with five tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. In his second year as a starter, Ta'amu was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention. In 2009, he recorded 19 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. Ta'amu started 11 of 12 games as a sophomore. He is a powerful force at the point of attack. Ta'amu enters the season as the top 3-4 nose tackle in the nation and a potential second-round pick.
Josh Chapman, DT/NT, Alabama
Height: 6-1. Weight: 316. Projected 40 Time: 5.20. Arm: 32. Projected Round (2012): 2-4. 3/13/12: Chapman couldn't work out at the Combine since he is still recovering from knee surgery. Chapman recorded 23 tackles with 3.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and two passes batted down in 2011. For most of the season, he played with a torn knee ligament.
Chapman is a quality run defender but limited as a pass rusher. He looks like a strong nose tackle candidate for a 3-4 defense in the NFL. Chapman has good technique with natural pad level. His injury could impact the beginning of his rookie season.
8/28/11: Josh Chapman was a backup to Terrence Cody in 2009 and 2008. Last year, Chapman broke into the starting lineup at nose guard and recorded 31 tackles with 3.5 tackles for a loss and one sack. He is a strong run defender at the point of attack. Chapman could potentially add more weight. In the NFL, he looks like a potential fit as a nose tackle, or possibly as a five technique in a 3-4 defense.
Nick Jean-Baptiste, DT/NT, Baylor
Height: 6-1. Weight: 335. Projected 40 Time: 5.40. Arm: 33. Hand: 9 3/4. Projected Round (2012): 3-5. 3/13/12: Even though Jean-Baptiste was dominant at the East-West Shrine, he did not work out at the Combine. Throughout the week in Orlando, Jean-Baptiste showed major potential to be a nose tackle in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. He was like a bowling ball, rolling through offensive linemen to cause disruption in the backfield. Every linemen who went against him had problems with his bull rush.
Jean-Baptiste has natural pad level and consistently gets underneath the pads of offensive linemen to push them straight back. As a senior, he totaled 36 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks and three passes broken up.
Hebron Fangupo, DT/NT, BYU
Height: 6-1. Weight: 323. 40 Time: 5.16. Bench: 36. Vertical: 31.5. Broad: 8-3. Arm: 32 3/4. Projected Round (2012): 4-6. 3/13/12: Fangupo featured his athletic ability with some good numbers at the Combine. He showed speed and athleticism on the field drills with some power in the weight room. In his one year at BYU, the USC transfer Fangupo had a decent season. He recorded 26 tackles with six tackles for a loss.
Fangupo got a late start in football, so he may need to be developed for a year or two on the back-end of the roster before he can be a contributor.
Akiem Hicks, DT/NT, Regina University (Canada)
Height: 6-5. Weight: 318. 40 Time: 5.21. Bench: 26. Vertical: 31.5. Broad: 9-0. Arm: 35 1/8. Hand: 10 1/8. Projected Round (2012): 4-6. 3/13/12: Hicks was decent at the Combine, but doing well in his team interviews were probably more critical than having a big field performance. The Canada product Hicks caught scouts attention by flashing at the East-West Shrine practices. He is a large man who has some quickness and athleticism.
Hicks was at LSU before leaving the program in January of 2010. He was signed out of the community college ranks prior to that. Hicks has physical tools, but teams will need to do research into his background.
Kaniela Tuipulotu, DT/NT, Hawaii
Height: 6-0. Weight: 310. Projected 40 Time: 5.30. Arm: 32 1/4. Hand: 9 7/8. Projected Round (2012): 5-7. 3/13/12: Tuipulotu had 32 tackles with four tackles for a loss and a sack in 2011. He did not particularly stand out at the East-West Shrine or the Combine.
8/21/11: Kaniela Tuipulotu decided to transfer back to his native Hawaii after playing at Arizona. He recorded 34 tackles with 3.5 tackles for a loss and one sack last season. Tuipulotu would be best as a 3-4 defensive end.
Delvin Johnson, DT/NT, Marshall
Height: 6-3. Weight: 312. Projected 40 Time: 5.20. Projected Round (2012): 6-7. 3/13/12: After a quiet junior season, Johnson made a big improvement this year as a senior, making 42 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. He took advantage of offenses being focused on teammate Vinny Curry. Johnson barely played in 2008 and 2009 before making a modest contribution in 2010. He did not work out at the Combine, or play in a major All-Star game.