KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A common assumption is that the biggest difference between college football and the NFL is between the white lines. The game is faster, and the players bigger and stronger.
"It's a steep learning curve right now. It's the NFL," Poe said after the Chiefs practiced on a blistering Tuesday morning. "There are certain ways to do things, certain steps, certain places to be at certain times, and I'm just trying to get that part of it."
At least he's had that chance.
Allen is out with a hurt left ankle, even though the offensive guard walked around without the boot that he was wearing last week. Gray joined fellow running back Jamaal Charles off to the side with a hamstring injury, and Menzie is also out with a hamstring injury.
The time they've missed has given others an opportunity to shine.
But the biggest impression made by the rookies has been Poe, and not just because he stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 346 pounds - the heaviest player on the roster by more than 10 pounds.
"As a defensive lineman, you work so hard to get there, but not being able to hit them is a let-down," Poe said with a smile. "But you have to practice."
Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said that Poe has been receptive to what the coaching staff has been trying to get through. Kansas City runs a 3-4 defense and two-gaps with its defensive tackle, which means Poe has had to learn an entirely new technique from what he used at Memphis.
"He's trying to do what we're coaching him to do," Crennel said. "The thing is, if you remember what I told you after we drafted him, him being able to assimilate into our program is critical. It looks like he's more than willing to try to do it the way we want to do it, so I think he'll pay dividends in training camp."
Poe's draft stock rose considerably at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, where he ran a sub-5-second 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds an astonishing 44 times. Scouts were sent looking for more game tape of him, and were left to decide which the fluke was: the numbers that he put up at the combine or the relatively modest numbers he put up during his college career.
His physical attributes made many presume that Poe would be a run-stuffing defensive tackle, but the Chiefs have already tried to use him to rush the quarterback during practice.
"In the situation that we're in right now, we've lost a couple guys, particularly (Wallace) Gilberry, who was our sub rusher, so now we have to plug somebody in there," Crennel said. "He's got the ability that you might want to plug in there."
Wylie has made a few impressive grabs during the opening week of organized team activities, and has shown no ill effects from the litany of injuries that plagued him at Fresno State.
Like Poe, he said the biggest adjustment to life in the NFL has been mental.
"Picking up the offense, knowing the details of your assignment, getting on the same page as the quarterback," Wylie said. "We've been here two weeks and we've learned an entire new offense, and then you have to learn details of your routes. It's getting to the point where you know what you can do so you can do it fast and do it to the best of your ability."
Most of the rookies have been relying on veterans for help.