Rookie Minicamp Notebook: Poe Makes Chiefs Debut

Posted May 11, 2012

First impressions all around at Chiefs Rookie Minicamp

Chiefs first-round draft pick Dontari Poe spent the majority of his first practice with his helmet off working on a side field with defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibits any contact from taking place at minicamp practices, so the Chiefs are focused on developing technique with their top pick.

Poe worked one-on-one with coaches on hand placement, footwork and stance for nearly 60 minutes of the 90-minute practice.

“We were focusing on just being explosive,” Poe said. “We really don’t do too much of this kind of technique in college, so I’m just out here trying to learn the mental part the best that I can now and the physical part will come later.”

“He has a ways to go because he’s learning a different system,” head coach Romeo Crennel added. “Until he can get his footwork, stance and technique with his hands down, it will come, but it takes some time.”

The Chiefs won’t have a true understanding of where Poe stands until training camp begins in late July.

School is out at Memphis, so Poe will be able to join veterans in the team’s offseason program on Monday, but he won’t get fully acclimated in the pro game until the pads come on at training camp.

No live contact is allowed during any OTA or minicamp practices throughout the offseason.

“He’s playing a position where contact rules when the ball is snapped,” Crennel said. “We have to teach him the technique, but we have to get him in pads for him to be able to polish the technique. We can see some of the improvement with the guy hitting the bag and trying to understand, but until he puts the pads on and you have contact, that’s when he can polish the technique the most.”

“I learned a lot out here on the first day,” said Poe. “I learned more than I thought that I would, but this is all a process. I’m doing the best I can and taking it day-by-day.”

As for the critics, Poe isn’t acting like he’s turned a deaf ear. He’s heard analysts talk about him being a potential bust and question his college production against non-BCS competition.

All of that is on Poe’s mind as he goes through his first days as a Kansas City Chief.

Poe has arrived with a chip on his shoulder.

“Every day I come out here that is on my mind,” Poe said of the criticism he’s received. “People have said those negative things about me and I just want to prove them wrong. I’m trying to do that every day.”

Wylie works all over the field

Fourth-round draft pick Devon Wylie is expected to compete for time as a slot receiver this season, but the speedster out of Fresno State worked as both an inside and outside receiver on Friday.

The workload appeared to pay off as Wylie’s debut left a positive first impression with Coach Crennel.

“He showed some pretty good quickness and things as far as catching the ball goes,” Crennel said. “What he was advertised as, it showed. I mean, he has really good quickness and he runs really good routes. I think he’ll be able to get a step on defenders and have a chance to make plays.”

Statistically, Wylie is the fastest player at minicamp and may in fact be the fastest player on the Chiefs roster as a whole. But after one day, Wylie says he already feels the change of speed at the NFL level.

“It’s very different,” Wylie said. “I’m going to have to increase my speed in my own way, and I’m going to have to harness it, keep my feet under me a little better. Today, I felt like I could have played a little better. I have to play as fast as I can all the time in order to keep my speed and use that as an edge.”

Wylie also addressed wearing jersey No. 83, which will no doubt keep the comparisons to Wes Welker flowing.

“I requested a number in the teens, and this was one of the only 80s number available,” Wylie explained. “It is just what was given to me, so I’m just rolling with it.”

There were only two numbers available in the 80s when Wylie was drafted (83 and 88). When seventh-round draft pick Junior Hemingway was issued No. 88, Wylie received the same jersey number as Welker.

No player on the roster wears No. 86, which is retired in honor of Hall of Fame DT Buck Buchanan.

Take Five: First impressions and a little bit of this and that

1) Dexter Heyman, an undrafted linebacker out of Louisville, more than passes the eye test. Heyman looks every bit of the 6’3,” 232 pounds he’s listed at on the Chiefs roster. Minicamp is a time for players to shine in the “Underwear Olympics,” but I’m excited to see what this prospect can do once the pads come on.

2) David LeGree has a great chance in front of him to earn a contract this weekend. The tryout player from Hampton is taking every offensive snap as the only quarterback in minicamp. He was high on a lot of his throws Friday, but will have more than enough opportunity to show improvement on film.

3) James Winchester is an interesting story. He served as Oklahoma’s long snapper last season, but is working as a wide receiver at minicamp. The only receiving he did for the Sooners was as a scout team player. While Winchester struggled with some of the footwork drills, he made several nice catches in 7-on-7 including a leaping grip during the 11-on-11 team period.

4) Second-round draft pick Jeff Allen took his reps at left guard. Third-round draft pick Donald Stephenson worked at left tackle.

5) The first big play of minicamp was turned in by Dominique Ellis, a tryout safety from South Carolina State. Ellis picked off a high pass intended for Brandon Kinnie that was deflected into the air. Fifth-round draft pick DeQuan Menzie had underneath coverage on the route.

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