Perhaps no player acquisition process in all of sports is as scrutinized as the first round of the NFL Draft. So-called draft experts like Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay and Mike Mayock spew their opinions on television, while every fan has their own opinions about which players their favorite teams should select.
During the pre-draft period, questions are posed about all prospects, from Dan Marino to Peyton Manning. All players are questioned in form or another. So of course, the Dolphins first round pick Mike Pouncey had some questions surrounding him entering the draft despite being widely regarded as the best interior lineman in the 2011 draft. While all of the answers won’t be finalized until Pouncey is on the field for the Fins, The Finsiders have talked with those who saw Pouncey play every snap at Florida to answer a few questions about the talented lineman.
What We Learned: Robbie Andreu, Florida beat writer for the Gainsville Sun, who covered both of the Pouncey twins, told us “The Florida coaches thought that Mike actually had a bigger upside that Maurkice.” The offensive coordinator at Florida the past two seasons, Steve Addazio confirmed the statement, saying “At this point, he’s a little ahead of where Maurkice was at the same point coming out [last year].” Andreu told us that while Maurkice may have been a year ahead of Mike last year; that Mike caught up to where his brother was and perhaps even surpassed him with his strong play in 2010. While the Pro Bowl may be a lofty expectation for a rookie, we know it definitely isn’t out of the realm of possibility for Pouncey in 2011. That said, if he does play at center, as currently expected, he’ll be competing against his brother for one of the two AFC Pro Bowl Center positions. Nothing like a little competition between siblings.
What We Learned: Addazio said “That was the most overblown, media driven thing; that was ridiculous.” Addazio went on to say that Mike had only three errant shotgun snaps during the season, all early in the season, which was similar to his brother the year before with the only difference being the Maurkice had Tim Tebow at QB in 2009 to cover-up some of those bad snaps. Mike didn’t have that luxury early on in 2010, with a new, less-mobile quarterback at Florida in John Brantley. Addazio further explained the complexities of Florida’s spread offense for a center and told us “That situation really won’t arise in the pros,” since most of the shotgun snaps in the pros are in obviously passing downs where the center isn’t expected to be an aggressive lead blocker as is the case in Florida’s spread option offense under Urban Meyer. We also asked Addazio where Pouncey would fit best along the offensive line: “He’s comfortable at any position, right [guard], left [guard], center…he could play right tackle without a doubt in my mind, he’s comfortable on the edge in space in pass protection, there’s not anything he can’t do; his versatility is incredible.”
So hopefully the insight of former Florida Offensive Coordinator Steve Addazio and Gators beat writer Robbie Andreu have answered a few of your questions about Mike Pouncey.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.