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mesaSteeler
04-23-2010, 12:18 AM
Steelers take Pouncey with 18th pick
http://community.post-gazette.com/blogs/bobsmizik/default.aspx
By Bob Smizik | Thursday, 9:35 p.m.

To the surprise of almost no one, the Steelers selected Maurkice Pouncey, a center who can also play guard, with their first pick and 18th overall in the NFL Draft Thursday night.

Pouncey made 39 career starts for Florida and is NFL-ready after playing in the best college conference in the country. He could well supplant Trai Essex as the Steelers starting right guard next season.

Maurkice PounceyBut he might not be long for that role. Following a career path established by the great Dermontti Dawson, after a year at guard he could well step in and be the Steelers starting center, which is his best position, in 2011.

Post-Gazette beat writer Ed Bouchette had the Steelers taking Pouncey in his mock draft.

Gerry Dulac, who also covers the Steelers for the Post-Gazette, was on to Pouncey earlier than most. Dulac was saying after the NFL Combine that Pouncey would be the Steelers first-round selection.

Pouncey, 6-4 1/2, 304, started 11 games at right guard as a freshman at Florida. He started 28 games at center over the next two season. He was the winner of the Rimington Award, which goes to the best college center, this year.

The Steelers had not taken a center with their first-round pick since 1941, when they selecred Chet Gladchuck of Boston College.

In the seconds after the selection was announced, ESPN draft guru supreme Mel Kiper noted that Pouncey had ``great character,'' a trait that is not unimportant for the Steelers in these days.

Offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga of Iowa, projected by many as a top 10 pick, was surprisingly still available when the Steelers selected. It may have given them second thoughts about Pouncey but they have a greater need at guard and center than tackle.

Steeler center Justin Hartwig will be in the second year of a three-year deal next season. Pouncey can learn behind him, while also playing guard, and if all goes well take over center in 2011.

The Steelers have a great tradition of center with Mike Webster, Dawson and more recently Jeff Hartings.

Scouts rate Pouncey, who turns 21 in July, as a gifted athlete with good mobility for his size.

In a departure from tradition, the NFL drafted only the first round Thursday. The selecting resumes Firday with rounds two and three and concludes Saturday with rounds four, five, six and seven. The Steelers have nine more picks.

MattsMe
04-23-2010, 12:29 AM
The Steelers had not taken a center with their first-round pick since 1941, when they selecred Chet Gladchuck of Boston College.

After digging up my grandfather's mock draft from 1941, I was surprised to see he totally nailed that pick. All his buddies had them taking Brett Favre that year.