Positives: Pouncey has impressive size and strength for an interior lineman and is also quite athletic for his size. He moves well and shows the ability to pull and execute cut blocks which helps his stock as a guard out a lot. He shows a pretty quick first step coming out of his stance which helps him get in position to wall off blockers or seal on double teams. He shows good fundamentals when executing a wall-off block or a seal block and has a good wide base, doesn’t play too high, has good hand placement and sustains well. He also shows ability as a pass blocker. Again he plays with a good base, picks up twists and stunts pretty easily, sustains his blocks well once he gets his hands on the player and moves well enough laterally to mirror quicker, undersized defensive tackles. While he struggled mightily as a center early in the season he certainly improved as the season went on and while I don’t think he should play there in the NFL there is something to be said for how far he came from botching multiple snaps in Florida’s first game to at least avoiding bad snaps by the end of the season. He moves to the second level well also which speaks to his mobility, and shows some nastiness when finishing blocks at times.
Negatives: Pouncey really struggles as a drive blocker. It might sound funny to hear someone say that, but even though he is fundamentally sound when walling off defenders or when pass blocking his technique is just awful as a drive blocker. He bends at the waist and he leans into his blocks nearly every time he’s asked to drive block. That hurts his ability to balance and it makes it very difficult to sustain blocks, and not surprisingly he ends up on the ground a lot and rarely gets a good push as a drive blocker because of it. Either he is stalemated at the line of scrimmage by the DT or he pushes them off the ball before being discarded shortly after his initial surge. At times he will struggle with pad level when run blocking, seemingly when drive blocking or when trying to block a linebacker on the second level. He also struggles with combo blocks at times as he seems to wait too long to leave the double team to get downfield to block an incoming defender. Pouncey should not be a center in the NFL in my opinion because while he did better snapping the ball as the season went along his struggles to begin the season were well documented both when snapping the ball and when calling out blitzes and adjusting blocking assignments.
Overall: Pouncey is an overrated prospect to me. I would not pick him in the first round, and I openly wondered while watching him if his best fit might be in a zone blocking scheme, not in a man blocking scheme that requires a lot of drive blocking from their guards. While Pouncey is not an ideal puller or cut blocker he has shown some promise in these areas and I think he could be coached up at both pulling and cut blocking once he gets to the NFL. If that is the case then he would be playing to his strengths as a run blocker and wouldn’t be asked to drive block which is struggles mightily at due to seriously flawed technique. I think Pouncey’s stock is getting help from his brother’s tremendous success in the NFL and while Pouncey is a pretty good prospect in his own right he is not nearly on his brother’s level as far as drive blocking is concerned, nor is he as polished as a center. Pouncey can have a quality career as an offensive guard in the NFL, but unless an offensive line coach really works with him to help stop him from leaning into his blocks so much he will never be an effective run blocker in the NFL. I think if he gets drafted to a man blocking scheme like he probably will then he will be a disappointment because of his issues when drive blocking.
Projection: Late 1st round. I wouldn’t pick him here, but I have to say I’d be surprised if he made it out of round one at this point. He may go in the top 20, I just don’t know. But I would probably consider picking him in the middle of round 2 if I was a zone blocking team.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Blocking: 3.5
Run Blocking: 2.5
Mean Streak: 3.5
Thanks for reading!