The 2011 NFL Draft is tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern, and if you're a Florida fan, you should be excited to see where exactly one player goes in the first round.
That would be Mike Pouncey, twin to one of the 2010 NFL Draft's Gator first-rounders, Maurkice. Maurkice went 18th to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010, and was a key cog in an offensive line that helped Pittsburgh reach the Super Bowl before getting hurt and missing a chance to earn a Super Bowl ring on the field. Will Mike be as lucky? Let's review the NFL Draft mocks' projections.
A true guard hasn't been picked in the top half of the first round since 1997 (Chris Naeole). Pouncey has a great shot at ending that run - if Miami doesn't go QB.
But the SB Nation mock draft isn't the only one with Pouncey getting poached by his home-state Dolphins. Mel Kiper's mock draft for ESPN ($) has Pouncey going to Miami — if the Dolphins don't trade down.
If they do go with Pouncey, they will get the top interior lineman on the board, a guy who can help any team. Versatile and solid, with obvious bloodlines.
Yahoo!'s Shutdown Corner's mock draft concurs on Pouncey to the Dolphins.
Tony Sparano did a lot to shuffle the cards with his interior offensive line in 2010, and the former O-line coach will see the value in Pouncey, who could be a good center, but already looks like a dominant guard.
An older Pro Football Weekly mock draft, meanwhile, had Pouncey slipping to a familiar outfit that scooped up Gators from the 2010 draft: The New England Patriots.
Logan Mankins'(notes) long-term future is in doubt, supersub Dan Connolly(notes) is penciled in as the other guard, and Dan Koppen isn't getting any younger. Drafting Pouncey provides immediate help at guard and perhaps long-term help at center with his nasty attitude.
Are you good with the idea of Pouncey moving south to help Miami? Do you wish your team could pick Pouncey, or any other Gator, this year? Are you surprised that Pouncey's skills and attitude apparently covered for that bit of the yips with snaps earlier this year? (I am, but being evaluated as a guard certainly helped him.) Let's talk about it in the comments.
The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.