- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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ESPNDallas.com will look at a potential Cowboys pick each weekday leading up to the draft.
Size: 6-4 1/2, 304
Scouts Inc. rank: No. 1 at center, No. 19 overall (scouting report)
Pouncey, who started at guard as a freshman before moving to center, is a tough, physical player with a high football IQ. He made all the line calls for the Gators, consistently displaying an excellent understanding of blocking concepts and defensive schemes. He’s explosive out of his stance and plays with great power and leverage. He’s a dominant trap blocker and has good timing on combo blocks and gets to the second level smoothly. As a pass protector, he has a strong initial punch and light feet that allow him to shuffle and mirror pass rushers. He displayed his toughness by playing in the Sugar Bowl hours after being treated for kidney stones.
You have to nitpick here. He can occasionally get into trouble in pass protection when he gets caught lunging. He sometimes is too aggressive. He made most of his snaps out of the shotgun and will have to adjust to playing in a traditional NFL offense. He never missed a game in college, but there are minor durability concerns due to surgery he had to repair a torn labrum last spring.
With left guard Kyle Kosier entering the final season of his contract, the Cowboys need to get a replacement ready to go. Pouncey could push Kosier for the starting job immediately. Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode is 32 years old, so it’s not too early to start grooming his eventual replacement, either. At the least, Pouncey would be a major upgrade for the interior line depth. He could be a guy who starts for a decade, spending a few years at guard before moving back to center.
FLORIDA OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR/OL COACH STEVE ADDAZIO
“He’s the toughest guy I ever coached and he knows football. He can call defenses. He understands protections and where the blitzes are coming from and those kind of things. … He’s relentless. He’s going to defeat his guy and get down field. … He’s a mauler. He’s going to knock you off the ball. He started at guard as a true freshman. The only reason I moved him to center is because you take one of your smartest guys and put him in position to make all the calls.
"He’s really a guard that became a great center. He can play each equally well. And I’m telling you, put him out at tackle and you’d be shocked. When a guy is a football guy, they understand being in football position and understand ball, they can do all that. That’s when you understand you have a great one. … I think he will be a Pro Bowl player. He’s got it. The hardest part of the game is always [pass] protection, and he’ll continue growing in that area.
"We play in the SEC. This is an NFL-ready conference. Against Joe Blow U. in the Big East, they don’t go against 330-pound guys every week. Maurkice played against those guys every week. He played against the biggest nose in America at Alabama, a guy who would eat me if he had the chance. As an 18-year-old freshman, he played against [Glenn] Dorsey in Tiger Stadium. He’s NFL ready. He’s not going to blink. … He’s the best I’ve ever coached. I think he has all the components to be great. He’s going to be great. He’s going to bring the locker room and team up with his energy, his enthusiasm and love for the game. He’s a home run.”