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NFL Mock Draft 2012: Can Dontari Poe Replace Casey Hampton At Nose Tackle?

The Pittsburgh Steelers need some re-stocking up the middle of their front seven this offseason. They are starting to get old at nose tackle with Casey Hampton and at middle linebacker, and could use some youth in both spots. So it's no surprise that Dane Brugler of CBS Sports has the Steelers taking mammoth defensive tackle Dontari Poe out of Memphis at No. 24 in his latest 2012 NFL Mock Draft.

Pittsburgh's age on defense began to show late last season and the Steelers will need to get younger through the draft. With nose tackle Casey Hampton, the linchpin of the team's three-man front, undergoing ACL surgery and turning 35, Poe becomes an attractive target for the Steelers to groom as Hampton's replacement. He has impressive quickness and movement skills to do more than simply occupy blockers at the next level.

Despite his injury Hampton is probably not about to retire, so Poe could come in and learn the system under him for a year or so and then become his successor. If the Steelers decide that this is the position they most need to fill, or if Poe is the highest-rated player on their board, then this is a solid selection.

For more on this and all things Steelers football, head over to Behind the Steel Curtain. For more on the upcoming NFL Draft, check out Mocking the Draft.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.