In the 2008 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts used their second round pick on a college center with the intention of moving him to guard because a long time starter had just left the team. Needless to say, Mike Pollak was an absolute failure at right guard. I have a different feeling about Maurkice Pouncey.
Pouncey starter his Gator career as a right guard. He started 11 games that year and was only the seventh Gator to start opening day his freshman year. I'd say that is significant coming from a powerhouse program like Florida. After his freshman year, he became the starter at center and immediately was dominant. He started every game including the national championship, and he wasn't finished. He was amazing his final year. He was flawless against LSU in one of the Gators' most important games of the year. He ended up being a first team All-American and won the Rimington Trophy which is awarded to the best center in the country. He decided he had enough of the college thing and went pro after his junior year.
After the jump there are scouting reports that should make you feel confident in Pouncey.
Even though Florida ran a true spread offense, Pouncey showed he can block on power and finesse plays. Doesn't get thrown off by defensive line shifts or when linebackers show inside pressure pre-snap. Made all the calls for the Florida offensive line...Maintain an excellent base against defensive linemen who are equal to or less powerful than him. Doesn't let linemen get under his pads often...Fires off the snap incredibly quickly. Gets his hands moving immediately and doesn't give up much to linemen. Based on his combination of quickness and awareness, Pouncey shouldn't have a problem in [movement]...Pouncey moves really well on his feet and shows good agility in pass protection. Properly knows how to shuffle his feet to mirror defenders. Sometimes he gets out so quickly that he lunges...Shows great hand placement in run blocking. Can be overpowered by strong nose tackles. Could do a better job of finishing off his blocks. Showed his worth run blocking as a guard his freshman season...Has good height and a solid build. Has a fairly athletic frame with plenty of room to grow, if needed. Arms aren't especially long...Possesses solid strength for a center. Doesn't have much of a pop in run blocking...Pouncey's hand use is outstanding. He uses his hands to maintain position and anchor. Sometimes he gets too high in his stance and strong defensive linemen can push him around. Has a slight tendency to lunge block at moving defenders. Snapped out of the shotgun a majority of the time and may need to develop more on his snap technique.
Adept at the shotgun snap. Good quickness and accuracy in firing the snap back and catching the defensive tackle. Quick, accurate hand placement and impressive strength to handle the bull rush. Big and strong enough to handle the nose guard one on one. Good lateral agility and balance to handle quicker defensive tackles...Rare combination of size, leverage and power as a drive blocker. Stays low and gets under the pads of his opponent to move him off the line of scrimmage. Very good combination blocker; capable of helping out the guard initially on the double-team and releasing to get to the second level. Plays with some nastiness. Finishes the block...Quick out of his stance and has the straight-line speed and balance to get out in front of the back. Good recognition to find his target and has the body control to adjust to the smaller opponent. Can be a punishing trap blocker...Capable of making the accurate snap and still get his hands up quickly to catch the defensive tackle without losing much ground. Explosiveness as a trap blocker is impressive...Good, not great speed to get to the second level. Good balance and agility to hit the moving target. Hustles downfield and looks for someone to hit...Intelligent. Made all the line calls for Gators. Showed his toughness by starting in the 2009-10 Sugar Bowl only hours after receiving four bags of IV fluids and being treated for kidney stones.
Pouncey is a versatile lineman that has lined up at both center and guard. He is a squatty, quick-footed athlete that can roll his hips to redirect and adjust to movement or sink his hips to hunker down against a powerful bull rush by big nose tackles. He is quick with his first step after the snap and quick to get a fit with his hands but will let his weight get too far forward at times. Pouncey had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder in May of 2009 and durability could become a concern down the road. He should be quick to see the playing field thanks to his versatility.
These scouting reports made me very happy. He does not sound like Pollak at all. Pollak was intelligent and played hard but was on a terrible line. That should have been a hint to Polian that he may not have been that good. Pouncey, on the other hand, played on a great line and was the leader of it.
Pouncey's run blocking is big news. If the Colts are trying to get better at run blocking, then Pouncey could be a very nice fit. Even though he is coming from a spread offense, he is not finesse like Tony Ugoh was. If the Colts take him, he could be the starter at either guard position. I'm still feeling moving Diem to left guard so I would like to see him as right guard over Kyle DeVan. Pouncey won't be an All-Pro lineman but he will be a solid starter for years.