NT/DT, University of Memphis, 1st round (11th overall), Kansas City Chiefs
The timing of Poe's headlining this slideshow coincides with the announcement yesterday that he finally came to terms with the Chiefs on his rookie contract (per The Wichita Eagle). To Poe's credit, he has not missed a single minute of his development to this point while awaiting the accord.
I will couch my bust prediction on Poe with the respectful acknowledgement that he has rare—extremely rare—physical gifts for the position.
We are talking about a once- or twice-a-decade prospect that comes along with comparable dimensions (6'4", 345 lbs) and measurables (sub-5.0 40-yard dash and 44 repetitions of 225 lbs on the bench press)—perhaps not even that often.
With this in mind, if the Chiefs either coach up his technique and awareness and/or scheme him to optimally take advantage of his ability, I will likely have egg on my face for this call.
"Of course they'll do those two things—he's their first-round pick," you say?
That is the natural thought, and it seems compellingly logical. But this is pro ball, and a lot of talented players have busted or otherwise gone by the wayside due to poor communication, competing agendas and egos within an organization or a lack of work ethic.
Poe leads off this list because so much is expected of him between his historic combine and the lofty draft slot.
When I watch him on film and actually evaluate him purely as a football player, it is extremely disappointing, especially in light of how gifted we now understand him to be. A player with his athleticism should have consistently destroyed his largely subpar competition in Conference USA.
Instead, Poe made very few plays overall, and not nearly enough plus plays in the backfield or that involved the ball (pass deflections or forced fumbles, primarily). While his leverage and pad level are not a natural weakness, he constantly ran himself out of plays or was unable to find the football while penetrating. These two latter characteristics offset the would-be playmaking ability of someone with his talent.
And despite his size, he also is going to have to improve on his footwork and hand-placement technique in order to anchor better in the middle versus double-teams.
The role of an NFL nose tackle is often not to make the actual play himself, but to occupy space and blockers effectively enough to allow others to create a positive defensive stop. This is something that he will need to work on.