Bunting: Edge Rushers from the 2nd Round Down

How safe a 1st-round pick is
 Dontari Poe?

Today’s chat with the National Football Post’s Wes Bunting covers some later-round pass rushing prospects, the odds of drafting Dre Kirkpatrick as a safety and the current post-Combine thinking on Dontari Poe. 

Cowboys Nation: We talked about Adrian Hamilton way before his bowl game and you were very excited to see him, because he had 20 sacks at his level.  Then you reported back and said he was less than you expected. He’s getting more attention now because of those sacks.  Where does he fit in your current board?

Wes Bunting:  I gave him a high-end free agent grade.  He’s got a thin lower half.  He’s got a little explosion and he’s tight-hipped.  He’s got some production and he’s got some savvy as a pass rusher.  I just saw him against ho-hum competition and he didn’t stand out.  I gave him a free agent grade.  I wouldn’t draft him but you could bring him to camp.  I think you can stand him up in a 3-4 and let him rush that way, but as a nickel rusher?  I think there are more dynamic players out there.

CN:  Here’s another name we talked about at the Senior Bowl, Arkansas’ Jake Bequette.  The Cowboys have shown some interest in him and he had some really good workout numbers at the Combine.  He’s 270 lbs.  Is he somebody the wide-9 teams will pursue, or is he a player you can stand up in a 3-4, at outside linebacker?

WB:  This is what is so ridiculous about the Combine.  When I watched him on tape, I didn’t think he was a very good athlete.  I thought he was kind of blah, and then he works out well, so I went back and watched his tape again.

He doesn’t have a great get off.  He’s at his best rushing against offensive tackles who can’t anchor.  I think he’s a little stiff, doesn’t have a great first step.  But he plays hard.  He knows how to use his hands and he’ll overwhelm, but against stronger guys who can engulf him, he struggles to shed their blocks.  I think he’s a solid run defender.  I thought he may on his best day be a swing end at an okay level in a 4-3, but more and more 3-4 teams are liking these big guys.  Ryan Kerrigan made it work last year for the Redskins.  I don’t think Bequette is as good a pass rusher as Kerrigan, but I can see some 3-4 teams looking at him.

CN:  A reader asked you to compare Dre Kirkpatrick to Malcolm Jenkins.  Jenkins was a corner entering the draft and the Saints have moved him to safety.  I’ve seen chatter that some teams feel Kirkpatrick’s best position will be safety.  He’s 6’2″.  Do you see similarities in their games?

WB:  I’d say there are some.  I’d say Jenkins was more of a quick footed player.  That’s one area where I’m not a big Kirkpatrick fan.  I feel he’s not quick footed laterally, but he’s smooth and he’s flexible and he tracks the football decently.  He ran in the 4.4s at the Combine.  I think if he’s going to play corner he’s either got to be in a pure press scheme where he plays up on the line and uses his length to jam and re-route or he’s in a pure zone where’s he’s looking into the backfield, using his fluidity to turn and run and track the football and he tackles well.

As a safety? I think he’s an instinctive guy.   I think it could work, but I like him more as a corner.

CN:  Based on what you’ve heard through the scouting grapevine, what are the odds that Michael Brockers get to the Chiefs at pick 11?

WB:  This is interesting, because I remember a couple of years ago, when we looked at the Browns and said Joe Haden, Joe Haden, they’re going to pick Joe Haden.  And then right after the Combine, it was Kyle Wilson, Kyle Wilson, and it was Kyle Wilson all the way up to the draft and then it turned out they like Joe Haden all along.

I’m wondering if the same thing is going on with Brockers to the Panthers.  It’s been Brockers, Brockers, Brockers, and in the last week or so some people are saying, maybe it’s Poe.  So I’ll say there’s about a 40% chance that he gets to the Chiefs at 11.

CN:  The follow up then — what are the odds he gets past the Chiefs at 11?

WB:  I don’t think the Chiefs would take Brockers.  They have two 5-techniques.  If they take a tackle, they would pick a nose tackle.  If not they’ll take a right tackle.  [Note:  the Chiefs signed former Texans RT Eric Winston last night, which greatly changes the gaming directly in front of the Cowboys.  More on this later today.]

CN:  Have you heard any more buzz on Poe?  He was the guy at the Combine.

WB:  I know a scout that covers that region.  I may have told you this already. He’s seen Poe a lot and he refuses to give Poe a 1st-round grade.  And I’ve talked to him since the Combine ended, and he said, ”yeah, he can run as fast as he wants, but he doesn’t play that hard, play in and play out.  So how can you take a player in the top 10 that doesn’t play hard play-in and play-out and who doesn’t dominate Conference USA competition consistently?”

He gave Poe a 2nd round grade.  And I discussed Poe with him because I gave him a late 1st-round grade.  This is one of the few guys who thinks with his head.  He’s not somebody who thinks with his ears.  I really respect him.  He’s missed a bunch, but he’s also hit on a bunch.  Overall, he’s seen this guy up close.  He’s watched him in practice.  He’s seen Poe in the games.  He’s given me tape on the guy and I don’t see a high 1st rounder when I watch tape of him.  He’s a freaky athlete, but when you strap the pads on, I don’t think he should be rated that high.

I think Poe goes top-15, but I know a lot of scouts feel the same way, that he shouldn’t go that high.

But remember, the scouts only offer their input.  They’re not the ones making the decisions.  The GMs do that.

Rafael Vela

Rafael Vela

Senior Analyst Cowboys Nation.com at Sports Talk Line
Started covering Dallas Cowboys @ TheBoys.com in '95 and '96. Two more stops along the way and here I am. Senior Analyst for SportsTalkLine.com
Rafael Vela

Enjoyed this post? Share it!

  • Cowboy KRS

    I like Bigg Jerel Worthy ,man dude is a Beast did u all see him against the Badgers

  • Cowboy KRS

    Stephon Gilmore is a CB 1st ,who can play Safety ,at South Carolina he played both its called flexibility.DUH(ask Mike Maylock)

  • Chris

    Raf, I’d like to hear Bunting or Broaddus take on Kamerion Wimbley vs. Anthony Spencer.

    At least superficially, it would seem a pretty big upgrade to the pass rush to sign Wimbley and take back Spencer’s franchise tab. I’m a little surprised Dallas hasn’t shown any interest in Wimbley since he was released.

    • kameleon_o

      Me too. I’ve already posted my interest in Wimbley but I haven’t heard any rumors about him at all. When he was first released there was talk from Chargers fans that they had been waiting for him to be released but nothing since then. The silence is weird

  • Lee1936

    Poe is fascinating, with enormous potential, but who knows whether he’ll ever play to his potential?  It’s natural that scouts want to be conservative, and to rely more on game performance than Combine performance (with no opponents interfering.)  Probably no team would draft Poe on the basis of his game tapes.  Whoever gets him will be betting not on his past, but on his future, as they project their view of his potential.

    Others have noted that this year’s DL crop is thin at the top.  Brockers’ game tapes are not overwhelming, but his potential seems great to some.  Coples put on a show his junior year, but coasted through his senior year, and is seen as marvelously gifted, but tainted by a year of underachieving. 

    And that’s the top 3 DLs!  Choose your poison: a lazy underachiever, or two specimens long on potential but short on achievements.  

  • Mandmeisterx

    I know it hasn’t been talked about much on here, but I think it’s highly likely they look at picking up a QB, in this draft.  Do you see that as the case, as well?  And if so, who looks like a possibility?  I know he’s undersized and doesn’t have plus arm strength, but I like Russell Wilson a lot.  Accurate, can make plays with his feet, throws well on the run, and is a guy that makes big plays in big games.

    • since ’66

      Wilson would be a great late-round pickup.

  • Ware94

    I have a family member who is an athletic trainer at North West Mississippi Community College. Some of their players have went to Memphis & he is good friends with a guy on the Memphis staff. I was by him yesterday that Poe has a blood sugar problem. If true, I’m sure this will make the rounds with the teams. No way I would touch Poe with the 14th pick.

  • lissyyyyy

    What about Markell Martin as a FS?

    • Did you read the Broaddus tape reviews of him?  Wildly inconsistent.  Made a big play and then got burned on the next.  

      Not something that makes me excited.  Dallas has had way too much of that in recent years with Watkins, Davis and Ball.  

      • lissyyyyy

         Hmm supposedly Stephen Gilmore has some experience as a safety.  Good tackler and very athletic.  Seems like he would be a good candidate to switch from CB to safety.

        • So you’re going to use the 1st round pick on a CB to S project?

          • lissyyyyy

             Saints did

      • kameleon_o

        Watkins, Davis, and Ball made a big play?? Suuuurrreee Raf. Tell us another one. LOL

  • kameleon_o

    Who’s Adrian Hamilton?? I can’t find what school he even goes to.

    • kameleon_o

      Found him. Prairie View A&M. Looks raw. He’d be worth a late round flyer I’d say

      • trublutothecore

        look him up at Youtube….if he doesn’t get drafted and we get him as a FA then it’ll be interesting…..he has some skills and he dominated lower competition just like you want to see a guy do at that level….He bested Robert Mathis’ sack record with 22.5 for the year, had over 36 tackles for loss, 6 forced fumbles, and even defensed two passes…at 6-3 255 he has the size you look for at 3-4 OLB..just have nothing for measurables as he didn’t go to the combine….his schools proday is the 21st if I remember correctly….

        • trublutothecore

          sorry…26 tackles for loss…still impressive…

        • BVandy

          Does anyone know if he is scheduled to come to Valley Ranch for a local day?

        • kameleon_o

          Sounds like an interesting prospect. He’d certainly upgrade the bottom of the roster. Give RR some talent to mold. Isn’t this Butler’s last year?? Unless the guy explodes and shows starter potential I can’t see us bringing him back. Time to bring in some new guys.