04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Chiefs picks: Round 1/11 - Dontari Poe, NT, 6-3, 346, Memphis...A developmental pick, Poe has the attributes that head coach/defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel seeks for a nose tackle. But Poe has very limited experience playing the position. - The Sports Xchange
Poe ran and jumped like a little man at the Combine, but showed the strength of the big guy that he is. He had 44 reps with 225 pounds and ran 40 yards in an unofficial time of 4.98 seconds, which would be acceptable for a linebacker or tight end 100 pounds lighter. Poe is obviously naturally gifted with size and strength, although some scouts are concerned that he doesn't always play up to his ability.
"Dontari is a powerful, powerful young man who has the potential to be the best defensive lineman I ever coached," offered Memphis defensive line coach Mike DuBose, who saw some pretty good DLs in his days as head coach at Alabama, where he won an SEC championship in 1999.
DuBose says Poe often over-thinks what he is doing rather than just doing it and needs to just rely on his abilities more. That probably accounts for the reason Poe doesn't always explode off the line. But DuBose says Poe is a dedicated athlete in the weight room and on the field, where he will still need to refine some techniques to maximize his God-given abilities at the next level.
Pass rush: Flashes exciting burst off the snap to penetrate. Can slip through gaps with his get-off and is an intimidating force for quarterbacks to avoid. Shows some natural balance and lateral agility to break down and chase the quarterback but has only phone booth quickness overall and is quickly left behind by mobile/alert passers. Shows a rip and swim move, but neither is particularly effective. Relies often on a simple bull rush but it is only marginally productive due to the fact that Poe routinely stands up at contact, losing leverage and negating his own strength. Does not possess an adequate secondary move if his initial burst is contained. Too often struggles to disengage with blockers smaller and weaker than him. Needs to do a better job of using his height to his advantage and present to the quarterback obstacles to throw around. Has only four passes defensed in his career, though to his credit three of them came in 2011.
Run defense: Shows the burst to split gaps and make the play on his own. Also has the ability to create a pile in the middle, even showing the ability to split the occasional double-team. However, is just as often blown off the ball due to his high pad level. Needs to do a better job of being the aggressor and tossing blockers aside to make the play rather than falling off blocks onto ballcarriers as they go by. Flashes good lateral agility to side-step blockers and can surprise you with his speed and effort in lateral pursuit. May struggle as a nose guard in the NFL due to shorter than ideal arms (31 5/8), especially considering his height. Good strength and balance to sit down, lock-out and create a pile, however, leading to possibilities inside and out (in the 3-4).
Explosion: Has an explosive burst off the line. Consistently among the first linemen moving at the snap. Generates power through his hips and can rock the offensive lineman back onto his heels with his initial surge. Gathers momentum quickly and can explode into the ballcarrier, showing the ability to separate the football (four forced fumbles over his career).
Strength: Possesses excellent weight-room strength, although it doesn't always translate onto his play due to his short arms and high pad level. Can wow you with his ability to push the pocket and drag down ballcarriers with just one arm but doesn't play with power consistently enough for a man with his talents.
Tackling: Surprisingly light on his feet and shows the ability to break down reasonably well to make the tackle in tight quarters against much smaller, quicker ballcarriers. Can knock ballcarriers to the ground with a good shove and latch-on, drag-down tackles while engaged, but also shows the ability to wrap securely, as well as enough explosiveness to force fumbles.
Intangibles: Given a second-round grade by the NFL Advisory Committee. Voted Team MVP and Defensive Player of the Year by his teammates. If Poe had returned for his senior season he would have been playing for his third head coach in four years.