Every year at the NFL Scouting Combine, there are multiple “winners” and “losers” — and that’s all that really matters.
If you don’t perform at an usually strong or poor level, the Combine isn’t likely to impact your status ahead of April’s draft. And I’d argue that the interview process is the key for the majority of prospects in attendance.
While we’re still awaiting a chance to use hindsight to celebrate or mourn the eventual winners and losers, we can safely confirm that Dontari Poe has emerged as the superhero of the 2012 Combine.
The monster-sized defensive tackle out of Memphis might have an unmatched combination of size, strength and even speed. Today in Indy, Poe benchpressed 225 pounds 44 times — setting the high watermark for this year’s event. And then he followed that up by running a 4.87-second 40-yard dash.
For some perspective, Virginia Tech wide receiver Jarrett Boykin ran the 40 just .13 seconds faster than Poe did. Boykin weighs 218 pounds. Poe weighs 346. Three of the 10 tight ends who ran on Saturday posted times that were higher than the one posted by the 346-pound Poe. Those tight ends weighed, on average, 254 pounds.
Two years ago, Ndamukong Suh, who was 40 pounds lighter than Poe, posted a 5.03.
Now, 350-pound defensive tackles very rarely have to run in a straight line for 40 yards. For Poe, coaches and executives are more interested in his burst. And that’s where Poe takes the Combine cake, because initial reports out of Indy suggest he ran a 1.7-second 10-yard split. That’s a linebacker-type number.
Additionally, only four defensive linemen were able to beat him at the broad jump (105.0).
So the guy’s a freak of nature. What does it mean?
Poe came into the Combine ranked 25th among 2012 draft prospects by Scouts Inc., with the majority of mock drafts projecting he’d be selected somewhere in the 20s.
But if this performance doesn’t dramatically change that, then what use is the Combine?
The official scouting report on Poe at NFL.com states that he “can’t do much else besides be an effective lane-clogger within the right scheme” because he “doesn’t have the versatility to move outside to end in a 3-4.” The numbers he posted today would seem to indicate the jury’s still out on that assessment.
And while there’s a rather sizable ravine separating in-game execution and fitness-related results, the latter metric can’t be ignored with anomalies like these.
Regardless, it doesn’t appear as though Poe will have much trouble paying off that Escalade he bought for his mom.