Steelers go O-line in round one, draft Florida center Maurkice Pouncey


The Steelers went back to basics with the 18th overall pick in round one Thursday night, going with Florida center Maurkice Pouncey.

Here’s what NFL.com says about him:

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.

The center is 6-4, 304 pounds. Here’s his scouting report from NFL Draft Countdown:

Strengths:
Prototypical size — Excellent athlete — Nimble feet — Great balance, agility and quickness — Smart — Terrific instincts and awareness — Is very strong, physical and aggressive — Understands positioning and angles — Consistently out leverages opponents — Stout at the point of attack — Gets a good push in the run game — Mobile with terrific range to pull and get to the second level — Competitive and a finisher who plays with a nasty demeanor — Tough — Hard Worker — Team Leader — Versatile — Has a lot of experience against top competition.

Weaknesses:
Shorter arms than you’d prefer — Trouble sustaining blocks — Gets caught reaching and lunging at times — Some issues adjusting in space — Too aggressive on occasion — Most snaps were shotgun and will have to adjust to a traditional offense — Minor durability concerns.

Notes:
Was a three-year starter for the Gators — Named 1st Team All-SEC and a 2nd Team All-American in 2009 — Won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center in 2009 — “Maurkice” is his middle name, first name is actually “LaShawn” — Has a twin brother, Mike, who also plays at Florida and will be one of the top interior offensive line prospects for the 2011 NFL Draft — Missed a few games with an ankle injury in 2007 — Underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder prior to the 2009 season — Saw extensive action at both center and guard in college and could project to either position at the next level — Is the total package with a well-rounded game and an ideal blend of physical tools and intangibles — As good as any pivot prospect to come along in recent years — Legitimate first round talent.


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