Dontari Poe is seemingly coming out of no where after a great combine. Measuring in at 6'4, some places I've seen 6'3 and a half, 346 Lbs, he ran the 40 at an unofficial 4.8(4.96 Official) and put up 44 on the Bench. His overall numbers compare very favorably to Haloti Ngata, who's seen as one of, if not the, best Defensive Linemen in the league. Like Ngata he also comes from a school not known for producing stand out Defensive Linemen, although the competition was better at Oregon then at Memphis.
In fact in both NT & DE groups Poe scores high marks and is comparable to other high quality players out there like JJ Watt(anybody who watched the Texans knows Watt was a beast), Haloti Ngata, Vince Wilfork, etc from an athletic stand point. Although Poe was known for his athletic abilities in shorts how does he look on film? Being a DL from Memphis his tape is rare however I've found some snaps on Youtube against Arkansas State that I'm going to break down for you all found here:
Dontari Poe vs Arkansas State (via ldawg0073)
00:28 - Lines up between the RG/RT as a DT, shows a good first step and hits the OL first taking on the RG with the Center hitting him just afterwards. Right away displays bad technique as he takes on the RG/C double team, bending at the waist and then is stood up getting stonewalled. However, doesn't give up and gets a good 2nd effort showcasing a good motor.
Meanwhile, the QB is doing a play-action fake and after the "hand-off" the RB starts to head to his right. Seeing what he believes is a run play, Poe tries to shed the Double team. Gets off the Center who starts reaching and falls over knocking Poe off balance but not making him fall, and the RG just loses him. Off-balance Poe starts to shoot upfield around the OL to his left, getting lower then the OL and heads for the RB.
I believe what happens next is the RT notices Poe shooting upfield to his right and engages him. It looks like he holds Poe slowing him down and the previously shed RG is able to reach Poe and also holds him. Its not the highest definition film-wise and the camera starts panning away from Poe as the QB passes so its hard to discern, but it looks like holding to me. While the DL is pre-occupied with the RB, the QB rolls out left and with plenty of time hits a wide open WR.
via i39.tinypic.com Does that look like holding AP? I think it might be. Screenshot captured at :34.
00:58 - Poe lines up as a DT under what looks like the LG/LT on a pass play. Poe is the one of the fastest off the snap and is the first to reach an OL which is a double team of the Center/LG. Recognizing the double team, Poe angles for the Center while the other DT is aiming for the left shoulder of the RG. Poe isn't able to set up his feet right nor does he punch the C properly who takes him on with the LG following soon after. His feet not set and a bad punch, Poe bends at the waist to compensate and gets stood up and stonewalled.
The other DT meanwhile, seeing a single team match-up, is blowing it up, but at the angle he's running is very close to Poe & the C. At the same time feeling things not working out, Poe starts looking to shed the double team and sets up a swim move shooting his left hand out into the space created behind the other DT. Poe has only one hand on the C, and the C isn't completely worried about Poe any more enabling him to put a hand on the other DT to slow him down. The other DT is running pretty close to that C, and the extra hand slows the DT down and the RB is able to move up and double team the DT with the RG effectively. Poe isn't able to lose the C either as he uses the swim move and heads left around his teammate. The C resets his hands after helping with the other DT, and is able to block Poe for the second or two required for the QB to get a pass off.
1:24 - Poe lines up as a DE in a 3-4 look underneath the RT with a stand-up OLB to his left. A couple OTs stand up a little bit and it looks like a false start and the DL gets out of there 3 point stance to rest in response, Poe specifically is crouching. No flags come and the QB immediately snaps the ball(what's funny is a WR actually starts before the snap is completed, so I believe that's another False Start).
Chaos ensues, the offense looks confused as does the front 4 trying to get off the snap from bad stances. Poe is the last one up but is unblocked and is given a free lane between the RG & RT. The lone RB is behind the RT and seeing Poe charging bravely charges right back, gaining a good angle and stopping Poe. Well he stops Poe as much as a RB can stop a 350 LB linemen. Poe starts resetting his feet, and blows up and stands up the RB. I think Poe didn't even see the RB till the last second, he was confused and his focus was completely on the QB after being given a wide open lane and the RB was sorta hiding behind the RT.
Poe charging was enough to worry the RT though and making a tactical decision that 350 Lbs of beef will wreck his QB, the RT barely blocks the rushing OLB to help back-up the RB. It looked like Poe was going to throw the RB away at any second so I'd say the RT was right to worry. The OLB free is able to pressure the QB who throws an interception in the endzone.
via i41.tinypic.com RT ignores OLB because Poe is such a threat. Screen shot captured at 1:33
2:11 - Poe lines up as a DT underneath the C/LG. 1st run play, and Poe is cut blocked by the LG. The RG isn't able to handle the other DT again and is pushed back into the RB. RB tries to head left but runs right into Poe who got up quickly and is tackles the RB for a loss.
2:46 - Poe lines up as a DT underneath the RG. Quick off the snap he meets the C, but gets stopped up by the C. Continues fighting with the C, and seeing the QB move left a little sheds and tries running around his DE to the left. As soon as Poe does this the QB passes to a WR and its complete. It really seems like Poe loves running to the left. I think if he had kept fighting with the C he would have won and been able to move upfield, although that wouldn't have done anything since the QB would have passed the ball for a completion anyways.
3:31 - Poe is lined up as a DT underneath the RT/RG, the DE is way out wide a couple yards outside of the RT. Average off the snap and I think meets the RG/C, gets stood up but keeps churning his feet and occupies two blockers' time. Some pushing and pulling, the RG pulls on Poe's arms a bit, Poe resets his feet pretty well and gets low pushing the double team up into the pocket rather well. He eventually picks up a triple team from the LG as he keeps fighting. The RT wasn't able to contain the wide DE, and the LT failed his cut block for the other DE so the QB was sacked.
via i40.tinypic.com With continuous effort Poe is able to pick up a triple team. Screen Captured at 3:36
3:46 - Poe is lined up as a DE in a 3-4 alignment over the outside of the RT with an OLB in between him. Gets off the snap at about the same time as everybody else. 3 man rush with the OLB going back into coverage, Poe hits the RT but its a short pass out to a RB. Good job disengaging and hustling over to the Receiver.
4:17 - Lines up as a DT underneath the RG. Its a run play and Poe meets the RG head on, Center also wanted a piece of him and Poe starts to work to his left around the RG. He moves upfield and gets real low around the RG and nearly reaches the RB. RB was originally headed for Poe, but not seeing a hole and seeing Poe coming around cuts left into a huge hole for a chunk of yardage.
4:53 - ESPN is too busy showing highlights that it can't pan to the field pre-snap, it looks like Poe is lined as the LDT. Its another running play and Poe gets into the backfield quickly against the RG. RB hesitates a bit and moves up the middle, Poe tries to work around the right shoulder of the RG to catch the RB and I think he is able to get a hand on the RB before being pushed to the ground. RB gets tackled by another teammate.
5:11 - Lined up as a DT between the RG/RT. Average off the snap, QB immediately begins rolling to his left and Poe after meeting the RG, starts crashing into the line diagonally into the RG's Right shoulder. As Poe is getting across the line he's held massively and eventually draws the LGs attention. QB finds a wide open man for an easy TD.
5:27 - Poe lines up as a DT between the LG/C. Good off the snap, he heads into that area between the LG/C and gets stood up by the C. LG starts to help the C, and Poe bull rushes upfield keeping his feet moving and nearly squeezes through but gets tripped up in all the trash and falls into the endzone. QB starts feeling serious heat and is able to pick up a few yards to prevent a safety.
5:56 - Lined up as a DT underneath the LG. Pass play, QB immediately rolls to the right. Poe reaches his man first and starts pushing to the left, then disengages and start pulling to the left. QB is under heavy pressure from Poe's teammates and throws the ball to open man at the 5.
6:24 - Poe is a DT between the C/RG. Sloooooooow snap reaction, Poe is way late but this actually helps him, so maybe Poe planned it that way ;). Its a running play and Poe stays in the 3 point stance, the double team block which is a RT/RG tandem literally runs right past him. He's to low to the ground and Poe barely slips away from them unblocked to charge up the field. Unfortunately its a fake handoff, the QB keeps it on a designed QB Draw play, but Poe is able to grab the RB and the QB is stopped for a short gain.
6:43 - Poe is a DT under the C/RG. Is quick off the snap and slaps the RG away and heads up the RG's left shoulder. Pushing upfield the RB comes in to help the RG. He continues pushing upfield, a handful for both the RB & Guard to take care of but his left and up creates a pocket. Feeling outside pressure the QB moves up into the pocket, Poe's forward momentum and what looks like the RB puling his arms down causes Poe to fall and the QB hits a guy deep in broken coverage for a big TD.
via i43.tinypic.com Offense taking advantage of Poe's tendency to move left and up with the QB moving up into the pocket. Screen Captured at 7:04.
7:18 - Poe lines up as a DT between the C/LG. Run play, Poe is average off the snap and the LG cut blocks him. Poe goes down and the RB kicks out to the right end but doesn't get much.
7:49 - Finally, a 3-4 set and Poe lines up as the NT underneath the C/RG. Its a run play and Poe takes the center on. Once again Poe showcases poor technique, gets bent at the waist and stood up. The RG gets behind the Center and pushes him, Poe starts getting pushed back and then gets dragged down off balance and falls.
via i41.tinypic.com Poe displaying one of the instances of poor leverage & technique. Screen Captured at 7:53.
8:04 - Poe lines as a DT over the RG. 1st one off the snap and he quickly gets upfield working on the RG's left shoulder, video sucks though so I can't tell if the QB was pressured by Poe or what. QB dumps the ball off and its stripped before its caught leading to an incompletion.
8:18 - Again lines up as a DT over the RG. Fast off the snap, RT effective cut blocks slowing Poe and the DE down while the RG hits Poe and moves upfield. Slowed down, the RB moves around the left end for a short gain.
8:32 - 3-4 set with Poe as the NT over the Center, Memphis brings most of their people back so it looks like a 3 man rush. Poe gets off the snap pretty quickly and he and the LDE slant right while the RDE runs around them to the Left. RDE is basically useless, but Poe hits the LG/LT while the LDE is able to squeek through upfield. QB hits a WR for a completion.
9:01 - Poe is lined up as DT between the RG/RT. Pass play and the RG pulls out to the left, the Center hits Poe and stands him up clogging him in the middle where the LG also pushes his teammate into Poe. The RB kicks out way to the right for a pass and is able to pick up a medium gain.
9:41 - Poe lines up as a DT between the C/LG. Slow off the snap, he takes on the LG and sheds him but its another RB in the flat pass that gets good YAC.
10:11 - Lines up at DT between the RG/RT. Good snap reaction, Poe rushes upfield quickly but the RT cut blocks him and he's able to slow Poe down. RB gets a short gain running left.
10:33 - Poe lines up as a DT underneath the RG. Great snap reaction, one of the first on either side to get moving. Gets low and is able to stand the Center up and push him into the pocket, angling left and up once again. Meets what looks like a RB and then the picture is cut off so you can't see what's going on. Seems like the QB dumped it off to somebody who made some good YAC.
via i43.tinypic.com Poe displaying that he can get good leverage, just needs to develop consistency. Screen Captured at 10:40.
10:53 - Line up in the 3-4, Poe is a RDE that is outside of the LT the OLB is on the other side. Great snap reaction again, even though he's lined up outside of the LT he's the first to reach the OL. Pushes upfield and what looks like he's pushing the LT on an outside rush, where it again cuts out. Then the QB dumps it off to the RB for no gain.
11:14 - Another 3-4 alignment that features Poe as the RDE outside of the LT with the OLB on the other side. For some reason they decide not to block him, the LT moves inside and the pulling RG does a weird shake and bake move that serves no purpose and Poe just goes after the QB. Kinda cut off again, but it looks like a RB goes and takes on Poe while the RG catches up. QB panics, scrambles and gets sacked, or if he were Tebow tackled for a loss.
Alright that's the end of Part 1, I'm only halfway through the film so I guess this is as good a time as any to take a break. I'll try to get the other half done by tomorrow. Just a quick go through, Poe needs some coaching up but seems promising. Technique can be taught, and that's literally where most of the problems lie. Bad technique leads to him getting stood up and stonewalled, and because of that instead of holding the double team he'll look to disengage to keep moving upfield. He seems very active and it doesn't seem like he wants to stay in one place too long if he isn't getting anywhere fast. Leverage is something that needs to be worked on, he likes to work on that left shoulder to get upfield but a good offense/QB will take advantage of that and the QB will move up into the pocket to escape him so that will also need to be worked on.
It does seem like the athletic ability does translate onto the field, and if he can get the timing down better he can be a monster. His hands and arms are really strong, and he's got a good variety of pass rush moves. He keeps his feet and hands moving, something I rate highly in Line prospects or pass rushers I mean just watch Tamba play and you'll get the idea. Poe's a guy the offense accounts for at all times, and they are clearly trying to keep plays away from him or are purposefully double teaming him to minimize his impact. I don't blame them, at 350 he'd destroy somebody if he hit them right. As for his future at NT or DE, who knows I need to watch more film but again he looks like a promising prospect.