|Kelly Olynyk Showing Improvement in Second Year||Connelly’s Top Ten: Best Holiday Around the Corner!||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 12||Celtics Defeat Winless 76ers, Avoid Embarrassment|
2010 stats: N/A (offensive lineman stats not recorded)
Mike Pouncey’s experience at center in 2010 was unique, to say the very least. The Florida coaching staff moved Pouncey to center to fill the void left by brother, Maurkice Pouncey. Unlike Maurkice, Mike struggled immensely. Pouncey was the cause of a countless amount of errant snaps as he displayed poor communication with the Gators quarterbacks.
Time after time, Pouncey was over-powered by the likes of Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley and Drake Nevis. However, the good news for Pouncey is that his stellar play at guard in prior years should still land him in the first round of the NFL draft.
Pouncey possess great size for a guard at the next level along with nimble feet. At Florida — like Maurkice — Pouncey went against top tier competition in the SEC. Pouncey has experience against some of the top defenders in college football.
Pouncey’s versatility is another one of his big assets, as he can play on either side of the offensive line. With his determination and overall athleticism, Pouncey should be a starter for years to come in the NFL — just not at center.
With the retirement of Stephen Neal, and the uncertainty of whether or not Logan Mankins will report, the Patriots have a void to fill at guard. Kick return sensation Dan Connolly filled in nicely when both Mankins and Neal were absent last season, and should get the chance to start in Neal’s place next season. However, behind Mankins and Connolly the Patriots lack solid depth.
Over the years, Bill Belichick has used his relationship with former Florida coach Urban Meyer to his advantage. Last season alone the Patriots drafted three Gators: Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham and Aaron Hernandez, all of whom had terrific rookie seasons. There would be no surprise if the Patriots indulged into the Florida crop once again this season, with Pouncey at the top of Belichick’s list.
Pouncey would be a great addition to an already stellar offensive line. Although Maurkice was more polished at this point in his career, Mike has the potential to be just as good as the 2010 Pro Bowl center. Where Pouncey gets drafted really depends on the needs of other teams. Last season, Maurkice was drafted No. 18 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, so Mike Pouncey figures to go around the late to early second round.
If interested the Patriots should be able to snag Pouncey at either 28 or 33.
Follow me on Twitter: @M_Marcantonio