Draft Review: Maurkice Pouncey
A member of the 2010s NFL all-decade team
GOSSELIN DRAFT ANALYSIS: Maurkice Pouncey opted to skip his senior season at Florida to enter the 2010 draft. There was no point in staying. He spent three years on campus and started all 40 of his career games, winning the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s best center in 2009. He was only the seventh true freshman ever to start on opening day for the Gators. He picked up a national championship ring in 2008, then graded out at 90 percent in his blocking all 14 games of his junior season. Pouncey measured 6-4 ½, 304 pounds at the 2010 NFL combine, then ran a 5.29-second 40 and benched 225 pounds 27 times at his campus workout. Gosselin rated him as the top center in the 2010 draft, the No. 22 player on his Top 100 board. The Steelers selected him with the 19th overall pick – the highest a center had been drafted since 1999.
Here are comments on Pouncey from 16 talent evaluators leading up to his 2010 NFL draft:
Scout: 2 (second round)
Personnel director: If we needed a center, I’d push for him in the Top 10. Everything is good on him. Draft him and you have your center for the next 10 years.
Personnel director II: If he came out last year, he’d have been the No. 4 center (Behind Alex Mack, Eric Wood and Max Unger). He picked the right time out come out.
Personnel director III: 1 (first round)
Assistant coach: Late 1.
Offensive line coach: Clean prospect. Much better than Chris Spencer (who went to Seattle in the second round in 2005).
Offensive coordinator: Occasionally, when he’d get stuck with a nose tackle, his legs and base would immediately widen and he’d get pushed back.
Offensive coordinator II: If he was in last year’s draft we’d have stacked them Mack, Pouncey, Unger and Wood.
Head coach: First rounder by default.
Head coach II: High 2.
General manager: Bends knees, takes up space and plays with awareness and instincts. But it will be a new experience for him run-blocking in the NFL. Didn’t do much of it at Florida. But last year he’d have been head-and-shoulders above the top three centers (Mack, Wood and Unger).
General manager II: 1 (first round).
General manager III: 1. The best interior lineman on the board.
General manager IV: 1. He’d be a good pick for us.
General manager V: 1.
General manager VI: 1.
NFL RESUME: As he did at Florida, Pouncey became a walk-in starter for the Steelers and, as one personnel director correctly predicted, a 10-year starter before his retirement following the 2020 season. Pouncey was selected to nine Pro Bowls by his peers in his 11 seasons and was voted a three-time first-team all-pro by the media. He also was voted to the 2010 all-decade team. The Steelers reached one Super Bowl in Pouncey’s career – his rookie season in 2010 – but Pouncey suffered an ankle injury in the AFC title game and missed the Super Bowl. The Steelers lost that day to the Packers, 31-25. Pittsburgh finished in the Top 10 in offense five times in Pouncey’s career, including three Top 5 finishes.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rick Gosselin spent 20 years as the NFL columnist for the Dallas Morning News, including 20 offseasons studying and researching prospects for the NFL draft. He didn’t watch any tape – he was a writer, not a scout – but he talked to the men who did watch tape. He built a network of NFL general managers, head coaches, personnel directors, scouts and assistant coaches from all 32 teams who would share with him their analyses of players. Gosselin used their insights to build his own draft board, Top 100 board and mock drafts. For 10 consecutive years he had the best Top 100 board in the country (2001-10), according to the Huddle Report, and three times he produced the best mock draft. Gosselin resurrected his college scouting reports here for a look back at how NFL talent evaluators viewed the top draft prospects coming out of college.