NFL star or Combine star? That’s the big question everyone is asking when it comes to Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe. After topping the charts in the bench press and running a great 40-yard dash for a man his size, Poe’s draft stock has skyrocketed.
It’s pretty hard to project what Poe’s ceiling will be in the NFL. Does he have a lot of upside? Sure. Will he ever reach his full potential? That’s to be determined.
Clearly, the biggest thing that jumps out about Poe is his imposing size. He stands at 6-4 and 346 pounds, and showed everyone just how strong he is at the Combine. Poe often draws the attention of multiple blockers and can really eat them up to allow his linebackers to make plays. Even when double teamed, he’s very difficult to move and can continue to use his force to clog running lanes.
He really thrived in college when faced with one on one matchups. Overpowering a lineman was like a walk in the park, and he didn’t have to do much more than use his raw strength to with battles.
This will change at the next level when he faces more talented lineman, and Poe will have to learn to be more than a one trick pony. He should still be able to eat up double teams, but he will have a long way to go if he really wants to be an elite interior lineman.
Check out this video of Poe against Tulane, via PhillyJimmy.
I’d really love to know what Jim Washburn thinks of Poe. In college, Poe wasn’t much of a pass rusher, so you have to wonder if that hurts his value to the Eagles. However, if Washburn is high on him, I wouldn’t disagree with his judgement.
Unfortunately, I have no idea what Washburn thinks, so I have to come up with my own judgement. I’m not sold on Poe being an elite player in the NFL. He played well in a weak league but wasn’t extremely dominant. I think he also seems like a better fit as a 3-4 NT with his size.
Most people seem to think that Poe will end up being taken in the first half of the first round. If the Eagles were able to trade back and still acquire Poe, I’d be much more comfortable then taking him at pick 15 or higher.