Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida
Name: Mike Pouncey
Position: Offensive Guard
Height: 6’4 E
Weight: 310 E
Strength: 7.0 Pouncey has tremendous upper body strength and good lower body strength. In addition, his already potent natural strength is enhanced by his ability to sink his pads and win the leverage battle.
Athletic Ability: 7.5 Pouncey is a great athlete for a guard of his size, and while he could use better balance when pulling (trips too often), his ability to get outside from the C position is impressive. Good explosion for a guard, has no problem getting to the second level in running game.
Run Blocking: 7.5 While Pouncey does not have dominant leg drive, he is still an excellent run blocker due to his all-around strength, athleticism, and attitude. Capable of landing reach blocks on NFL defenders, understands how to execute combo blocks, and use of strength+leverage allows him to send an unusually high number of defenders to the turf.
Pass Blocking: 8.0 I had to make myself keep this below an 8.5. Great consistency as a protector. Very tough to disengage from, keeps his feet moving, plays with leverage, and naturally athletic. Does more than shield QB, provides space in pocket to step up.
Motor/Attitude (on field): 7.5 Definitely has some nastiness. Plays through the whistle. Plays with emotion and finishes blocks. Rarely loafs.
Initial Quicks: 7.5 Centers are always at a disadvantage and it’s tough to know how that will translate to guard, so this grade is a tad conservative. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a serious strength at G, as Pouncey is very quick into his set as a center.
Playbook Understanding/Blitz Pickup: 7.0 Florida’s offensive line is a mess, which doesn’t reflect well on the C (Pouncey). However, it’s almost never Pouncey making the mental errors, and it was his first year at Center.
Blocking 2nd Level: 7.0 Can get better. It’s already quite good, but Pouncey doesn’t always sustain his block on the LB and can end up dipping his head (coachable). Good footwork when pulling and naturally athletic. Potential to be an 8.0 with a bit of coaching.
Combo Blocking: 7.5 Very effective whether it’s a true double team to open space or whether he is working to the 2nd level.
Leverage: 7.0 Pouncey already plays with good leverage on most plays, and if he can improve his consistency he could raise this grade. Naturally capable, but inconsistent with his knee bend.
Hand Use: 7.5 Most OL need a lot of work here, and Pouncey certainly could improve, but he gives a powerful jolt and doesn’t overextend.
Character: 7.5 From all accounts, Pouncey is a high-effort guy with good personal character. Nastiness on field is another plus. Twin brother Maurkice Pouncey was a 2010 Steeler 1st round choice.
Summary: Pouncey grows on you the more you watch him. While he has plenty of strength and is a solid drive-blocker, his real talent is using his upper-body strength and athleticism to seal defenders. His pass protection is excellent and while every rookie can improve, he looks as good as any interior prospect I’ve seen. Took over starting center job for his brother and there were serious growing pains, which were less of an issue (but still present) as the season progressed. Struggled with snaps and the UF OL was a huge mess all season, which is why I wouldn’t bet on his growth as a C, but he still brings an ability to provide depth at C (worst case) while playing G at a very high level. I expect Pouncey to go in the first round, start within a season (could start right away), and play at a very high level.
Final Grade: 8.3