Steeler Football lives!
In the grand tradition of legendary centers Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson, the Pittsburgh Steelers have finally addressed some of their offensive line issues by selecting University of Florida product Maurkice Pouncey with their first round draft pick.
Pouncey, 6’4 and 305 pounds, is a rare find. A first round caliber lineman who projects as a center at the NFL level. Pouncey is an excellent athlete who gets a strong push in the running game while also being nimble enough to pull out on trap plays. He’s also good at keeping his leverage and getting off the blocks so he’ll be stout at the point of attack on passing attempts. At least until good ‘ol #7 decides to hold the ball for a year and a half after dropping back. MK was named 1st Team All-SEC and a 2nd Team All-American in 2009 while also being named Rimington Trophy winner as the nation’s top center. He’s a well-rounded player with all the physical tools you’d look for and who faced top notch competition on a weekly basis as a three year starter for the Gators.
The only knocks on him are some durability concerns with an ankle injury in 2007 and a torn labrum which required surgery prior to the 2009 season. The only other question is how he’ll adapt to a regular pro-set offense as Florida ran the spread offense where they operated out of the shotgun formation on almost every snap.
Luckily, he’ll have time to adjust. The Steelers still have Justin Hartwig at center and he’ll probably stay put at least another season. Pouncey has experience at guard which is where he’ll likely spend his rookie year while learning the nuances of the center position. Considering the Steelers have two tackling dummies and an orange traffic cone at right guard, I would expect Pouncey to start for us immediately at that position. However, in the long term, you’re looking at our center of the future. Hopefully, he’ll be an anchor which solidifies a terrible offensive line for years to come.
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