Mike Pouncey, the Dolphins’ first round selection in last month’s draft, tweeted yesterday about what number he’ll end up wearing as a pro. At the University of Florida, Pouncey wore #55, which is currently worn by linebacker Koa Misi. NFL rules stipulate that offensive linemen must wear a uniform number between 50 and 79, so Pouncey has plenty of options and looking at the current roster, there are 14 openings in that range. Mike’s twin brother Maurkice wore #56 at Florida, which is available, and wears #53 in Pittsburgh, which is not (Austin Spitler). So what number will Mike end up with? This is one of the many questions that won’t be answered before the end of the lockout, but he’s definitely looking at a pretty good selection to choose from.*
Meanwhile running back Daniel Thomas, the Fins’ second round pick, wore #8 at Kansas State, which is not allowed at the NFL level. Only quarterbacks, kickers, and punters can wear single-digit numbers in the pros and running backs have to choose between numbers 20 and 49.
Like Thomas, fourth round selection Edmond “Clyde” Gates, the wide receiver out of Abilene Christian, was #8 in college and will also have to change his number in Miami, as receivers must choose between numbers 10-19 or 80-89. It might seem logical for Gates to just “double-up” the eight and go with #88, but that’s currently held by TE Jeron Mastrud. That said, Mastrud wore #85 in college (at K-State) and that number is available, so a flip-flop here is certainly possible.
Finally, there’s the interesting case of sixth round selection Charles Clay. We don’t yet know if he’ll be officially listed as a tight end or a fullback on the Dolphins roster but we do know that he’ll have to move away from his college number, nine. Most of us expect Clay to be used as an h-back, lining up both in the backfield and on the line of scrimmage, but the official roster designation will decide what numbers he gets to choose from. If he’s a fullback, he’s looking at a number between 20-49 and if he’s a tight end, he’ll be relegated to a digit between 80-89 (unless none are available, at which point he’ll be allowed to choose a number between 40-49).
So there you go, a nice little look at the possible uniform numbers that the newest Dolphins offensive players will wear in 2011 and beyond. Remember that plenty of things can change between now and the first game of the season (players coming and going, position changes, number trades/sales, etc.) so this is just a very early glance at the numerical futures of the newest offensive players on the Dolphins roster. And before you ask, yes, I’m ready for the lockout to end.
*UPDATE: Despite Pouncey’s tweet from yesterday, he told South Florida reporters that he plans to wear #53 (like his brother) in Miami. For more, see Andy Kent’s article on Dolphins.com. Perhaps at the time he wasn’t aware of Spitler wearing that number. We’ll see!
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