At the NFL Combine, Mike Pouncey did enough to prove he is one of the most talented linemen in the 2011 NFL Draft. While he did not play in the Senior Bowl or compete in the bench press at the combine, his times in the 40-yard dash and drills confirmed that he should be the first interior lineman off the board.
The question now for Pouncey is if he wants to play center or is he willing to play guard and hope to become a center in the future?
It is clear watching Pouncey that he has legs and feet that would immediately separate him from most interior linemen in the NFL. With his quick feet, Pouncey's strength was always pulling into the hole to and targeting a linebacker or defensive back at full speed. Like Maurkice Pouncey, Mike has shown a skill level that takes years to develop.
However, Pouncey will be hurt by his own struggles in 2010 and the Gators' struggles. When Pouncey was on his game last season, he looked like an All-American. The bad snaps and inability to blow out big defensive linemen hurt probably more than his good play helped.
If Pouncey is drafted early, I think it is much more likely to be as a center. Even in the new NFL CBA, first round draft picks will still be paid, but rarely is a significant investment made on a guard. Unless, a team drafts Pouncey to groom him as a center by starting him as a young guard. It seems the only team that would draft Pouncey to be exclusively a guard would be the Pittsburgh Steelers. As much as we want to see the Pounceys play together, it is not likely to happen.
Pouncey will have plenty of suitors, which means he can look for a situation that fits him and try to seer towards that team.
Watch NFL Scouting Combine Feb 24 - Mar 1