Today NY SOS will profile center/guard, Mike Pouncey, from my Florida Gators. Mike’s brother Maurkice Pouncey, who also attended Florida, was an all-pro center for the Pittsburgh Steelers last season as a rookie. The Giants passed on Maurkice in last year’s draft, and if this year’s Pouncey brother is available when the clock strikes pick no. 19, it will be difficult for the Giants to pass on him.

Mike fills the positions where the Giants have the biggest holes on offense – guard and center. Center Shaun O’Hara and guard Rich Seubert are both question marks due to both age and injury. Thus, fortifying the interior of the offensive line is critical for the Giants in the Draft.

Scouting reports after the jump.

Mike Pouncey
Senior, Guard/Center
University of Florida
6-5, 305

First, from the National Football Post:

A natural bender who can really sit into his stance off the snap, fire off the football low and consistently get under the pad level of opposing linemen in the run game. His combination of initial burst and power really makes him effective as an in-line blocker, as he gets his arms up quickly, hands under the chest plate and pumps his legs through contact. Also, is routinely one of the first linemen firing off the football. Now, isn’t the most aware at times off the snap, will struggle to recognize his man and get caught taking improper angles, allowing himself to be jolted on contact. But, he’s a good enough athlete to rework his hands and at least create a stalemate inside and stick to the block.

Looks comfortable in pass protection, takes a quick first step off the line and does a great job keeping his base down and feet under him laterally. Is smooth when asked to slide and shuffle and displays impressive mirror ability even in space. Now, isn’t real heavy handed, possesses a quick recoil and always keep his hands up and ready to punch, but too often allows defenders to fight off his block and he relies more so on his ability to mirror in space. However, redirects well and can anchor on contact, as he works his hands to consistently gain inside leverage. Does have trouble with his accuracy snapping from the gun at center; might be limited to guard only in the NFL.

Impression: A gifted athlete who plays with bend, explosion and natural athleticism in both the run and pass game. No reason to think this guy can’t be starting early in his NFL career and become a very good lineman at the next level.

Next, from Draft Countdown:

Strengths:
— Prototypical height and bulk with a large frame
— Athletic with great balance, agility and quickness
— Nimble feet and able to slide laterally and mirror
— Is stout at the point of attack with a wide base
— Decent power and gets adequate push in run game
— Strong and capable of locking on/sustaining blocks
— Range to pull, work in space and reach second level
— Top football IQ with superb instincts and awareness
— Aggressive and plays game with a nasty demeanor
— Versatile with the ability to play multiple positions

Weaknesses:
— Is not a polished technician and needs refinement
— Will get caught reaching and lunging at times
— Is not necessarily a physically dominant blocker
— Pad level gets high and leverage is inconsistent
— Struggled mightily with shotgun snaps as a senior

Overall:
Twin brother, Maurkice Pouncey, was a 1st Round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2010 NFL Draft and is already one of the leagues premier centers … Not quite as good of a player or pro prospect as his brother but no slouch in his own right — Possesses both the physical tools and intangibles to be a solid starter in the NFL.

“Aggressive and plays game with a nasty demeanor.” Gotta love this.

Mike’s stock has been boosted a bit thanks to his brother Maurkice’s successes last season in Pittsburgh. Mike does have similar attributes to his brother, which makes most teams with late-first round picks very excited. As the NFP scouting report noted above, Mike had struggles snapping the football as a center his senior year. A guard for 28-straight games as a sophomore and junior, Mike was a Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-SEC selection as the Gators’ right guard his junior year before making the move to center replacing his twin brother Maurkice. Like most scouts, I see him as more of an NFL guard.

Whoever ends up grabbing Mike Pouncey in Round 1 will be getting a talented, versatile player along the interior line. Both as a guard and a center, Pouncey’s athleticism shined in the Gators’ option-passing offense as he excelled working in space and executing blocks from sideline to sideline. He will be effective as both a pass- and run-blocker, and will pay dividends immediately in the NFL.