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Dontari Poe earns first start for Chiefs against Packers

The Kanas City Chiefs have emerged as a popular dark horse selection in the AFC West. One reason for the love is the team's young defense, which coach Romeo Crennel hoped would improve with the drafting of nose tackle Dontari Poe.

Patience is required. The No. 11 overall draft pick -- stashed away behind the underwhelming duo of Anthony Toribio and Jerrell Powe -- will makes his first start Thursday against the Green Bay Packers following a mostly disappointing camp.

It's not exactly a promotion -- Toribio's nursing an ankle injury -- but it will give coaches a chance to observe Poe with the ones.

"He's making progress," Crennel told The Kansas City Star. "But he's still that rookie who reverts back to what he knows at times, and he forgets to remember how we want to do it. There was one play in the game, he was in good position on the blocker and ended up jumping off the block ... he thought he could make the play (but) that opened up a hole.

"You've got to point those things out to him and get him to correct it. He's a conscientious student, and he will get it corrected."

It's not often a first-round draft pick -- brought in amid fanfare -- is eased along this slowly. Crennel has spent the summer improving Poe's technique, but the former Memphis defender hasn't picked up the system quickly enough, working mostly in the nickel. The forth preseason game is rarely intriguing, but the Poe story line makes this Chiefs-Packers affair worth watching.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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