Dontari Poe was one of big enigmas of the NFL draft, and he may be ready to pay big dividends for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Poe was his team’s MVP at Memphis, but really caught attention at the NFL Combine by outperforming every other defensive tackle in speed and agility drills. The idea of a 6-foot-3, 346 pound agile defensive tackle had some scouts drooling, while others were concerned about his more limited body of work at Memphis.
So far, the Chiefs have liked what they’ve seen. As reported on the Chiefs website, Poe has looked dominant so far, showing glimpses of the kind of elite talent that enticed the Chiefs to use the eleventh overall pick in the draft on Poe. In early workouts:
The first play exhibited Poe’s block-shedding ability. Lined up with the first team players, he shot between left guard Ryan Lilja and center Rodney Hudson to force running back Peyton Hillis to bounce outside.
On the next snap, Poe was one of the players that met Hillis on the edge after another running play. He correctly diagnosed the play as an outside zone run, shuffled down the defensive line, and was the first player to meet Hillis in the hole he was supposed to run through.
Poe talks a lot about technique. “It’s a different technique,” he said. “But once you learn it, you can be dominant with it. They’ve been playing (the 3-4) way longer than I have, so anything I can get from my teammates is the best thing for me.”
Back at the NFLPA Rookie Debut, Poe talked about what he had to most work on to successfully make the transition to the NFL. He answered, “Working on my overall athleticism, being explosive, and my overall power and as far as the positives: working on my hand placement would be the most because it’s a lot of hard work that’s put into it, but it’s on me to put in all the hard work.”
If he can combine that kind of attention to detail with the raw power and athleticism that he displayed at the combine, he can be a disruptive force for the Chiefs defense for years to come.