KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs have selected several defensive linemen early in recent drafts, and they finally have one who appears worthy of the honor. Third-year nose tackle Dontari Poe is No. 35 on ESPN's ranking of the NFL's top defensive players.
Poe, the Chiefs' first-round draft pick in 2012, busted through with a Pro Bowl season last year. He was so valuable to the Chiefs that he rarely came out of the lineup on either running or passing downs. That's unusual for any defensive lineman, particularly a 346-pound lineman like Poe. The Chiefs went through last season without a true backup for Poe because having such a player would have been a waste of a roster spot.
Poe is the third Chiefs player to check in on ESPN's rankings of the top 100 offensive and defensive players. One linebacker, Derrick Johnson, is No. 62, and another, Justin Houston, is No. 42. Since we have yet to see linebacker Tamba Hali, safety Eric Berry or running back Jamaal Charles, I would expect all of them to be ranked somewhere in the top 30.