Report: Colts are ‘Monitoring Market’ of Chiefs Dontari Poe
According to CBS Sports Jason La Canfora, the Indianapolis Colts are among the teams that are ‘monitoring the market‘ of prized Kansas City Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe.
Along with the Baltimore Ravens Brandon Williams, Poe is one of the top nose tackles set to hit this year’s free agent market and should be highly coveted by many potential suitors:
"“In their perfect scenario, the Redskins would swap free agent defensive tackle Chris Baker, who has interest from Jacksonville, Tampa, Denver and others, for free agent tackle Dontari Poe,” writes La Canfora. “Poe’s price wont be cheap however, and he could end up opting for a one-year deal in order to hit the market again in 2018, when the defensive tackle class should be weak. The Chiefs will be hard pressed to keep Poe at this point, but Indianapolis, Oakland, Atlanta and others continue to monitor his market.”"
Of course, new Colts general manager Chris Ballard already has a great familiarity with Poe, having previously served as the Kansas City Chiefs Director of Player Personnel from 2013-15 prior to joining Indianapolis.
Originally a 2012 first round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, the 6’3″, 346 pound Poe has occasionally flashed dominance at nose tackle–flashing strength, quickness, and surprising agility for a player of such enormous stature.
In his 5-year career, he’s already been a 2x Pro Bowler and 2nd-Team All-Pro while with the Chiefs.
He’s coming off a season in which he recorded 27 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, as well as this nifty touchdown pass for the Chiefs–making all 16 starts.
That being said, Poe doesn’t always play up to his immense physical potential and is set to hit free agency following a somewhat underwhelming season:
"Oct 26, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe (92) congratulates defensive end Allen Bailey (97) after Bailey’s sack of St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis (9) (not pictured) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports“Per Pro Football Focus (subscription), Poe was ranked as only the 59th best ‘interior defender’ with just a +55.8 grade overall–including a meager +46.7 run stopping grade.“However, he’s just one year removed from earning a Top 12 run defense grade among all defensive tackles–meaning there’s some definite potential for run dominance here.”"
Any team that signs Poe to a lucrative new deal–presumably in the $7-9 million annual range would be betting that the 26 year old’s best football is still yet to come and that he can put his physical talent and potential together on a more consistent basis.
From that standpoint, Ballard may know better than anyone whether that’s actually realistic.
Regardless, the Colts could clearly use an upgrade at nose tackle, as last year’s starter David Parry was recently arrested and is serviceable at best at the position going forward–presumably better suited as a rotational defensive lineman long-term.
Historically, nearly every great 3-4 defense has had a dominant nose tackle whether it be the New England Patriots Vince Wilfork (or Ted Washington), the Pittsburgh Steelers Casey Hampton, the San Diego Chargers Jamal Williams, etc.
Since installing Pagano’s 3-4 defense in 2012, the Colts simply haven’t had that caliber of nose tackle–having shuffled through the likes of Antonio Johnson, Aubrayo Franklin, Josh Chapman, and most recently, Parry at the position among others.
Not only does an impact nose tackle improve the defensive line, but by default, it would make the Colts linebacking corps better by freeing up the linebackers to make plays and avoid the trash/blocking coming up from the first level.
Could this finally be the offseason where the Colts find their difference-making nose tackle, who can anchor the middle of their defense for the foreseeable future?