A quiet first week to free agency for the Falcons proved to work out well as the patience led to the signing of two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Dontari Poe on March 16. The former Kansas City Chief visited with the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins before opting to sign with Atlanta for a reported one-year, $8 million deal. The 26-year-old Memphis, Tenn. native was the Chiefs’ first round pick and 11th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft out of the University of Memphis. Coming out of college, Poe was standing just over 6-feet and weighing 346 pounds. At the NFL Combine he impressed scouts with his “epic workout performance” which boosted him from a projected second rounder to early in the first round, according to Draft expert Todd McShay. Poe ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds, an impressive feet as he came into the Combine fifth heaviest at his position since 2000. Doing that caught the attention of then-president Barack Obama, who said, “I don’t know what you do if a guy like that hits you” in reference to Poe running a 4.98 and having a three-foot vertical.
Poe brings a huge frame that the Falcons have desperately needed since Rod Coleman’s stint from 2004-07. Alongside Grady Jarrett, who recorded three sacks in the Super Bowl, the interior of the defensive line for Atlanta looks to be solidified for hopefully years to come. Poe took less money by joining the Falcons, but hopefully a successful year with the team leads to a larger extension down the road.