– Looking for some beef in this year’s NFL Draft? Look no further than Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe, who figures to be one of the first major space eaters off the board come April.
– Poe was 6’4, 346 pounds when he weighed in here and has designs on being the next Casey Hampton. Here’s some of his responses to a number of questions:
Drills at combine –
I’m doing everything. It’s just competition. I like it. I like it all. I’ve been working out for it and just thought it’d be a good idea to do it all.
Working out –
Competition and I’ve been training at API in Arizona. I feel pretty good about it. I’m not hurt. I don’t have any injuries.
Compared to Casey Hampton –
It’s a great feeling because everyone knows he’s a great player, Pro Bowl-caliber player. He has been for a long time in the NFL. To be compared to him is a positive.
Type of DT in the NFL –
I see myself as someone who can rush the passer a lot more than people think. I am used to playing nose tackle and the 3-technique and I’ve played some 5-technique. I’m pretty comfortable anywhere on the defensive line.
Type of player –
I think I’m explosive, very explosive. That’s probably my biggest strength. Most people think just because I’m big I do nothing but power (inaudible) you, things like that. I try to use my quickness to my advantage.
Important for a DT to rush the passer –
Yeah. It’s become more important because the NFL is becoming a passing league. But if you can’t stop the run you’re in a pretty bad situation. You have to be able to do both.
What do you need to work on –
Just overall consistency. I need to maintain my level of play throughout the course of a whole game. That’s probably the biggest thing.
You followed Casey Hampton –
I’ve always followed him. I’m pretty into football a lot. D-tackles, I look at them a lot. Being one of the best as he has been for a long time, I followed him for a long time.
Other D-tackles –
Him, I like Ndamukong Suh. I think he’s very aggressive. Haloti Ngata. A lot of defensive tackles in this day and age are very good, which forces us to kind of step our game up.
Playing in a 3-4 or a 4-3 –
Really I’m used to both. We played both in college. Either or would probably be good for me. I’m comfortable playing either or. It’s really not a big deal.
What do teams want –
I don’t really know yet. Most people kind of see me as a 3-4 nose tackle, which is cool with me because I like that position as well. I like to think that I’m versatile and I can play multiple positions.
How many reps in bench press –
I’m going to try to go for 40 reps.
Combine/NFL always a dream? –
Yeah. It’s always been a dream. Back in high school we used to look at it and think it was so far away. But now at the end of my college career and getting this opportunity, it’s a blessing and it’s a dream come true. But it’s also a job and a business. It has become a reality. I’m getting used to it as I go.
You know your way around a weight room –
Yeah, a little bit. I love the weight room. It’s something I got into in high school because people always used to say college players are way bigger, faster, stronger. When you get to college, they say the NFL is way bigger, faster, stronger. I never let up on it. I’m self, intrinsically motivated to do it. Football is the most fun part about it.
Playing weight around 345 –
Yeah, I feel comfortable at it. If a team that I go to wants me to go down, that’s no problem either. I can do that. I feel comfortable. (Last year) I played at around 340, 346 to about 351. Just what a team needs I can do it.
Why Memphis –
I’m from Memphis. Born and raised in Memphis. I kind of felt like it would be the best decision for me at that time to stay at home and go to that school. For my family to be able to see me play each and every Saturday I thought it was a blessing and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Hard to get noticed playing at Memphis –
I think it speaks for itself. People say you have to go to a big school to get noticed, but the NFL is a broad league so they’ll find talent wherever it is. I didn’t think that was a big problem.
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