Patriots meet with Florida's Pouncey

March, 15, 2011
3/15/11
7:00
PM ET
With Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in attendance at Florida's Pro Day today, it's no surprise to learn that the team met with center/guard Mike Pouncey. This was confirmed by the Associated Press' recap of the day.

Pouncey is considered the top interior lineman in the NFL Draft -- he said he expects to be selected in the middle of the first round -- who could potentially start at guard immediately and be a possible center of the future. Given the makeup of the Patriots' roster, that's the type of profile that would seemingly help the team at this point.

The Patriots have not drafted an interior lineman in the first three rounds since 2005 (Logan Mankins, first round). This could be the year that changes, as starting right guard Stephen Neal announced his retirement earlier this month, starting left guard Logan Mankins has yet to sign his franchise tender, and center Dan Koppen enters the final year of his contract.

The Patriots have in-house options in Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Rich Ohrnberger and Thomas Austin, but are almost certainly going to address the position at some point in the draft.

Now comes the question: If Pouncey is going to come off the board in the middle of the first round, and you're the Patriots, do you take the top-rated player at No. 17 if he's available?

With Belichick attending Pouncey's Pro Day, and the Patriots meeting with Pouncey, the team is now one step closer to answering that question.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter
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