Why the Raiders should stay away from Dontari Poe

The Oakland Raiders are in the market for help at the defensive tackle position and naturally, that has led many to covet Kansas City Chiefs free agent Dontari Poe. But if I was the Raiders, I would pass on Poe in favor of re-signing Oakland’s own free agent Stacy McGee.

Yes, I just compared Stacy McGee to Dontari Poe. Hear me out.

Poe is a more dominant athlete than McGee but his athleticism hasn’t always shown up on the field. Poe has just completed his fifth season in the league and really only his second and third seasons were impressive. His first, fourth and fifth seasons do not really live up to the hype.

Let’s take a look:

Now let’s take a look at Stacy McGee’s career stats:

Clearly, Poe’s are more impressive. While he may not have played as dominantly every season as you’d like to see, McGee never even had the big years that Poe had. But given Poe’s rather poor 2015 and 2016 seasons, is it really smart to pay a guy big money when he’s only lived up to the hype for two of his five professional seasons?

McGee doesn’t have the upside that Poe has but he will come at a fraction of the cost and has shown that he is capable of being a valuable rotational player. Sometimes, the decision between players isn’t simply a question of who is better or has more potential. The answer to that question in this case is Dontari Poe. But the more relevant question is whether Poe is so much better than McGee that he will be worth spending millions more per year.

If you look at the past two seasons for Poe and McGee, you’d barely be able to tell the difference. While Poe had a good amount more tackles, in every other area the two are nearly identical. They both had 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery and three stuffs. McGee’s stuffs resulted in a loss of 7 yards, Poe’s in a loss of 6 yards. It’s actually kind of crazy to realize how similar their stats were.

But then, when you consider snap counts, it takes on a different look. This past season, McGee was injured a good amount and as a result only played 220 defensive snaps while Poe played 821 snaps. In 2015, Poe played 759 snaps to McGee’s 408 snaps. So while their stats were very similar in a lot of ways, McGee put up those numbers over far fewer snaps than Poe.

Again, my point isn’t to say that McGee is a better or even equal prospect to Poe. My point is that with Poe, you’re paying a premium for potential, and potential that he’s failed to live up to for the majority of his career. Sure, he flashed two very impressive seasons and having the Poe of 2013 and 2014 would be tremendous. But there is no guarantee that the Raiders would get the ’13-’14 Poe instead of the ’15-’16 Poe.

At the price Poe is likely to demand, I think the Raiders should look elsewhere for an upgrade at the defensive tackle position.

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