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Free Agency Film Review: Dontari Poe

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The Falcons got a lot *shuffles through cards of cliches*...bigger with the addition of Dontari Poe.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons filled a massive need at defensive tackle with a massive player in former Kansas City Chief Dontari Poe. Poe was a Pro Bowler in 2013 and 2014 and nabbed a second team All-Pro selection in 2013. The one year deal is a chance for Poe, 26, to reignite his career after a down year in 2016.

What makes Poe unique from other 340+ pound nose tackles was his snap count throughout his years in Kansas City. He has played at least 69% (nice) of the snaps each season including a whopping 89% in 2014. To put that in perspective, Aaron Donald played 79% of the snaps for the Los Angeles Rams last season, but he only weighs 285 pounds. Grady Jarrett played 56% of the snaps in Atlanta last season.

With his size, absurdly high snap counts, and back injuries it's remarkable that Poe has only missed two games since being drafted in 2012. Poe might not be the athlete that he was in 2012, but he's still a freakishly athletic defensive tackle for his size.

Poe's fit in Atlanta is straightforward. He'll rotate between one and three technique with Grady Jarrett and Ra'Shede Hageman in the base sets. In nickel sets he'll be able to rotate with Grady Jarrett, Ra'Shede Hageman, Derrick Shelby, Adrian Clayborn, and Jack Crawford. Mixing and matching between the true defensive tackles and the "hybrid" players will make sure Poe gets plenty of rest.

Atlanta hasn't had a body like Poe on the interior...ever. Even though he was inconsistent towards the back half of last season, his athletic gifts still shined through. Atlanta lives aggressive, upfield interior play. On slants Poe would be an upgrade over what Ra'Shede Hageman offered last season.

Poe's presence will help shore up the Falcons run defense as well. The Falcons gave up 4.5 yards per carry last, good for 26th in the NFL. Plugging Poe in at nose, one technique, and three technique would immediately be an upgrade over what the Falcons had last season.

The Chiefs are in their Bear front (two three techniques and a nose tackle) on this play. As the nose tackle, Poe is responsible for controlling each A gap to the left and right of the center. He does a fantastic job of controlling the center, waiting for the ball to declare, then shedding the center for a tackle at the goalline.

Poe will probably be playing in the 330s for the Falcons this season. Players that big aren't usually effective as pass rushers, but Poe has rare flashes in that area of his game. He's an inconsistent pass rusher, but it's still an upgrade over what Atlanta had last season.

He gave Chris Chester some problems in pass protection last year in the ESPN Classic "Pick-2" game. His movement skills for someone his size are ridiculous.

If he can land his initial move and clear a path for himself on his way to the quarterback he can cover a lot of ground in a hurry. After he shakes the center, sending him to the ground, watch how quickly he's able to make his way to the quarterback.

That's the type of athleticism that Dan Quinn has tried to bring to this defense. If Poe can get closer to his 2013 and 2014 performances with a decreased snap count, this will be an absolute steal.

Poe's effort was inconsistent last season (which may be related to his back injuries and snap counts), but when he decided to go full gear he was an asset for the Chiefs down the field.

Even though he gets some help from Eric Berry he still makes a nice hustle play to track down Fozzy Whittaker on the screen. Poe starts off rushing over the center and tracks down the running back about fifteen yards from where the ball was snapped.

The biggest area of concern with Dontari Poe will be how his back holds up throughout the 2017 season. He's only missed two games in his entire career, but due to his snap count he has a lot of tread on his tires. His effort and ability to make explosive plays was a little shaky in the back half of the 2016 season.

However, the Falcons stress having a deep rotation of defensive linemen which is a stark change from how the Chiefs handled their defensive linemen. Grady Jarrett, Ra'Shede Hageman, and Dontari Poe gives the Falcons arguably the most athletic defensive tackle trio in the league.

Between Vic Beasley, Dontari Poe, Grady Jarrett, Ra'Shede Hageman, Adrian Clayborn, Brooks Reed, and Jack Crawford the Falcons are littered with athletes along the defensive line. They could still use a young edge rusher to pair with Beasley which will come via the draft.

The signing of Poe solidified the Falcons defensive tackle rotation and eliminated that as a need heading into the draft. It's low risk, high upside signing for young, ascending, athletic defense.