Cowboys Potential Draft Picks: Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida
In our final Offensive Line Grades, we detailed how efficient the Cowboys’ interior linemen were in 2009. We gave Kyle Kosier a “B” grade and both Leonard Davis and Andre Gurode an “A-.” Thus, we see the interior linemen as one of the strengths of the Cowboys’ offense.
The problem, though, is that the backup situation at both guard and center is worrisome. Guards Duke Preston and Cory Procter received tender offers from the Cowboys, and there are rumors that the team is negotiating with unrestricted free agent Montrae Holland on a new deal. Despite this, Dallas would be ecstatic to add a more reliable and consistent backup interior lineman.
It is likely both this weak backup situation and the soon-expiring contract of Kyle Kosier which have the Cowboys linked to Idaho guard Mike Iupati. In our opinion, though, the Cowboys could kill two birds with one stone by selecting a player who can play both guard and center.
It is this sort of versatility that the team loves and which Florida C/G Maurkice Pouncey possesses.
At 6’5”, 318 pounds, Pouncey has good size to anchor a line. In addition to center and guard, there is also a possibility that Pouncey could swing out to tackle in a pinch. This kind of versatility is almost non-existent and is what has some scouts rating him as a top 15 prospect.
Pouncey would fit well into the Cowboys’ scheme because of his run-blocking abilities. He has tremendous lower body strength and exceptional quickness off the ball for his size. This quickness and fluidity also allows Pouncey to be above-average in pass protection. He utilizes his athleticism in gaining leverage to overpower larger defensive tackles.
We talked to one scout who thinks Pouncey will be an All-Pro player almost immediately. The key for Dallas is whether they grade Pouncey as a guard as well as other teams will grade him as a center.
We think Pouncey may surprise people with how high he gets selected in the draft. The Cowboys are not the only team that values versatility, so we see Pouncey as a near-certain first round selection. In fact, we are not convinced Iupati will get drafted before Pouncey.
Having said that, there are so many talented players that someone must drop, and teams frequently value other positions more than center and guard. If Pouncey is still available at pick #27, we expect the Cowboys to seriously consider him. The downside to drafting Pouncey is that he may not provide an immediate impact, a trait for which Dallas could be searching in the first round of this draft.