If anybody tells you that any other player did more to increase his stock at the 2012 scouting combine than Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe, you know that person wasn't watching Monday's drills for defensive linemen and linebackers. After putting up a combine-best 44 reps in the 225-pound bench press, Poe went out to the track at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium and ran an unofficial 4.87 40-yard dash ... at 6-foot-4, and 346 pounds. His official best time was 4.98, which is still ridiculous when you consider that Ndamukong Suh ran an official 5.03 at his combine, and he was 40 pounds lighter than Poe.
And those in the know aren't entirely surprised by the big man's speed -- per NFLDraftScout.com, Poe ran school-timed 40s under five seconds on at least two occasions.
Even more interesting was the fact that at the combine, Poe had an unofficial 1.70 10-yard split, which absolutely speaks to his ability to explode off the snap and do really bad things to offensive linemen. Getting the numbers for that initial burst is very important -- far more important than the whole 40 -- when looking at linemen and linebackers who can explode off the snap. To put Poe's split in perspective, future endbackers like Nick Perry and Shea McClellin had 10-yard splits in the 1.57 to 1.59 range -- and Poe outweighs McClellin by about 100 pounds. Yikes.
After the run, Mike Mayock of the NFL Network raved about Poe's movement skills, opining that Poe looks a lot like Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens at the line, and especially in zone drops. Ngata has a rare ability to "get skinny" through blockers at 350 pounds, and there's tape of Poe doing the same sort of stuff.
Not bad for the fourth-heaviest defensive lineman to weigh in at the combine since 2000. At 346 pounds, Poe is bested only by Alabama's Terrence Cody (354 in 2010), Washington's Alameda Ta'amu (348 this year) and Texas Frank Okam (347 in 2008). A few more numbers: Ta'amu's 40 was about a half-second slower unofficially (he didn't run his second after suffering a hamstring injury), Okam shook the ground at 5.32, and Cody ran an official 5.71 at his combine.
Anyone else will have to go a very long way in a very big hurry to make more money at this year's combine that Dontari Poe -- primarily because the tape backs up the athletic achievements. This isn't a king-sized Mike Mamula we're talking about here, though he will need some technique work at the NFL level.
Still, none of these things register as Poe's most impressive post-college achievement. That would be the fact that he's already bought his mom a brand-new Escalade:
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