Free Agency is underway and the Atlanta Falcons are making moves. Check out updates here as familiar faces return and new guys commit to the red and black.
On Thursday, the Falcons made a free-agency splash by agreeing to terms with Dontari Poe. Here's everything you need to know about the veteran defensive tackle.
- Poe never played organized football before high school, and originally, he didn't plan on trying: According to The Wichita Eagle, he wanted to join the Wooddale (Memphis, Tenn.) marching band. But the summer before his freshman year, a football coach noticed the gigantic bass drummer in passing, struck up a conversation and convinced him to join the team. The rest is history.
- A successful high school career led Poe to University of Memphis, where he blossomed into a top draft prospect. The Kansas City Chiefs drafted him 11th overall in 2012.
- Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli was Kansas City's general manager at the time and said Poe was "everything we believe in, makeup-wise."
- Poe immediately carved out a big role in KC by starting all 16 games as a rookie. He enjoyed a breakout season in 2013, helping the Chiefs earn a Wild Card spot and receiving a Pro Bowl nomination for his efforts. He returned to the Pro Bowl in 2014, establishing himself as one of the NFL's most promising young defenders.
- Poe's ability to eat up space and take on double teams made him a valuable part of the Chiefs' rush defense. Per PFF, he tallied 142 run stops in Kansas City, an average of 28.4 per year.
- He's displayed pass-rushing potential, too, notching 10.5 combined sacks in 2013-14.
- Poe's tackling ability is considered one of his strengths. According to Pro Football Focus, he's missed just 18 tackles so far in his five-year career.
- Poe famously threw a touchdown pass last December by lobbing the ball over Denver's defensive front and into the arms of tight end Demetrius Harris. A year earlier, he ran for a touchdown on a 4th and goal play from the one-yard line. He is the heaviest player in NFL history to record a throwing and rushing touchdown.
- Perhaps the Falcons will feature Poe on offense, too. OT Ryan Schraeder said he would love to see the free-agent acquisition used in goal-line situations. "The more things you can throw at an opposing defense, the more they are hesitant," Schraeder said. "He is a freak specimen for a guy that big. I'm excited to see him in a Falcons uniform."
- Though most players of Poe's stature are used in limited snaps, he was a three-down DT in Kansas City, lining up for at least 757 defensive snaps in every pro season. NFL.com's Chris Wesseling called Poe "among the most athletic interior defenders the league has seen."
- In 2017, the Falcons believe Poe will be a significant part of their up-and-coming defensive line. "Poe is an athletic, big guy that can push the pocket," general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. "He will add to our defensive line group and will mix nicely with [Vic] Beasley, [Grady] Jarrett, [Derrick] Shelby and [Adrian] Clayborn. We are happy to be able to add him to our roster."
- Poe will likely spend a lot of time next to Jarrett, who said his newest teammate "makes us a better team and a better defensive line. It will be good to definitely have him on board."
- According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Poe received an enticing contract offer from Jacksonville, but chose Atlanta based on conversations with head coach Dan Quinn.