Poe Or Hightower, The Steelers May Have A Choice?

Consensus draft pick for the first round of the draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers has them drafting either Dontari Poe from the Memphis or Dont’a Hightower from Alabama.  Lets look at both players a little closer.

Dontari Poe is a guy that most draft experts do not think will be around when the Steelers draft but their are still a couple of analysts that do think he will be.  One of those analysts is Mel Kiper Jr.  Poe is a 6’3″ 346lb defensive end that has all the tools and freaky size to go with it.  He was a standout at Memphis and he is very durable only missing one game since 09′ and that was for a death in the family.   Scouts do say that he has to develop a mean streak which you need as a defensive end.  Playing angry helps players on the defense, and a guy of this size can not play without it.  He has great size which helps him in a  base 34 defense.

As for Dont’a Hightower, he played in a much tougher conference in college going up against guys that are ready to walk onto an NFL field right now unlike Poe.  He is a 6’2″ 265 lb inside linebacker with tons of skill and talent and real instincts for the game.  I would like to add, I got to watch several Alabama games this past season and he  was very impressive in the games that I was able  to watch.  He was one of several players I payed very close attention to.

After looking at his bio and his scouting breakdown, the one thing that really stands out is the fact that he has played in most all of the games each of the last 3 seasons. Though in each of those seasons, he had injuries or surgeries that did at times slow him down, not to mention in  09′, after four games he underwent knee surgery on the ACL, MCL, and meniscus after tearing his ACL in  his left knee.

That said, both guys have great pedigree and tremendous upside though if it were my first round draft pick and I had the option, I would pick Dontari Poe because of his durability.  Many times, being injury prone does not transfer from college to Pro.  But sometimes it does, and Hightower has  had not just surgeries but a major surgery and one that could slow him down in the future. It’s hard to count on a guy that is not in there all the time, especially after the Steelers just let go James Farrior who did not miss games.  Consistency is a huge factor in the Pro’s and one that I would look at closely here.

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