Rick Gosselin's final mock is out today, and he's got us selecting Florida C Maurkice Pouncey.
For those who don't know, Gosselin -- one of the best-sourced reporters out there -- is regarded as producing one of the finest mock drafts each year, and it's true. Go check out his draft from last year. With the exception of a) trades that no one foresaw and b) right position, wrong player (Unger / Wood, Wells/Brown) and c) the Raiders, he's exceptionally accurate -- at least, it's important to note, as far as mock drafts go.
Gosselin does 3 mocks every year. The first is based on his own appraisal of how good players are (and he's no scout). The 2nd is based on perceived need. The third, and final, takes both into account but primarily draws from his sources and what he's hearing around the league.
This year, Gosselin first had us taking Boise State CB Kyle Wilson. In his second, he picks PSU DT Jared Odrick to replace Aaron Smith. And in his final mock, he has us selecting Maurkice Pouncey, the versatile 20-year-old out of Florida.
He's not the only one.
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette picked Pouncey, too. Ed has a less than stellar track record on these things, being the first to admit that he's absolutely no scout. But last year he nailed the pick of DE Ziggy Hood. As the story goes, he'd settled on a DE but was going to pick Fili Moala until Scout.com's Jim Wexell told him that Hood was higher on the Steelers board.
And that brings us to Mr. Wexell, publisher of pit.scout.com. His pick? Maurkice Pouncey.
Wexell pays much more attention throughout the draft process than either of the other two writers, and has a better eye for athletic talent and players that fit the Steelers' scheme.
So how would I feel about Pouncey? I'd be happier if we traded down a few spots before taking him. And I love the upside and talent of Idaho G Mike Iupati more, but Pouncey -- capable of filling in at G until Hartwig is gone -- clearly fits our need better. I'd also love a playmaker in the secondary, but this is a deep draft, and I could see the Steelers trading up in the 2nd if one of the top corners after Haden slips.
But Pouncey is a smart (football smart) C who plays with passion, heart, and nastiness. He's got good burst and power. He's no Dermontti Dawson -- but who is? (Seriously HoF voters, get your act together...). Wexell compares him to an Andre Gurode, and I'd be fine with that. And did I mention he's 20 years old? Under Tomlin, the Steelers have consistently drafted young players with time to grow in the game in the first round.
Of course, the fact that all these writers and predictors have narrowed it down to Pouncey probably means we won't take him. After all, the Steelers never seem to do the expected. But that's what will make tonight so exciting.