As expected, Steelers choose Gators C Maurkice Pouncey at No. 18 in first round of 2010 NFL Draft

By Adam Silverstein
April 22, 2010

Round 1 – No. 18
Maurkice Pouncey, C
Pittsburgh Steelers

Height: 6’4″ – Weight: 304 lbs.
Age: 20 – Class: Junior

With his stock seemingly rising with each passing day, former Florida Gators center Maurkice Pouncey no longer had to worry about being selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. All he had to consider was which team would pick him to anchor their offensive line. As expected by most analysts, the Pittsburgh Steelers stepped up to the plate and chose Pouncey with the No. 18 overall selection.

Pouncey decided to skip his senior season at the University of Florida and the opportunity to play one more year with his brother Mike Pouncey to declare for the draft this year. It was a decision that was not easy to make for the big man, but it resulted in him setting a new standard as the first Gators center ever drafted in the first round.

“This is one of the biggest decisions I have ever made in my life,” Pouncey said after officially making his declaration on Jan. 11. “I would like to thank my family for standing behind me in the decision that I have made and my coaches for believing in me as a true freshman and helping me achieve everything that I have as a Gator. I would like to thank all the fans for cheering us on and getting us hyped up for the games. I am going to miss the Gator walks and the Gator Nation.”

Early reports have Pouncey beginning his Steelers career as a guard who will solely be molded into the team’s starting center. Head coach Mike Tomlin believes this will ease his professional learning curve while filling a gap that Pittsburgh has had since 2008.

Press Conference Audio
“I wanted this from day one. I’m so happy to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. I’m so happy they picked me. I just like the Steelers so much. All the fans and the city; that’s the team I met with at the combine and I fell in love with. They weren’t my favorite team growing up, but now since I’ve been to the combine and I’ve watched all the great years they’ve had – I about fell in love with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I can’t wait to get there. It’s unexplainable.”

Press Conference Transcript
Press Conference Video
Press Conference Audio
Director of football operations Kevin Colbert: “[Pouncey is] just that good. It was evident early on [in the evaluation] process that this was someone who was going to be interesting to us where we were going to be picking.”

Head coach Mike Tomlin: “[Pouncey is] a young guy with a great deal of experience at playing high quality football in the SEC. He has the type of playing demeanor that we covet. He’s a finisher. He’s a physical football player. He likes to play the game, but not only as he’s playing the game. When you do your research on this young man, he likes the things that come with being a professional football player and being a football player period. He likes to work out, he likes to compete in the weight room, he likes to work on his craft, and those are things, of course, that we’re looking for.”

Head coach Urban Meyer: “I’m proud for Maurkice and his family. He has worked so hard to put himself in this position. He loves the game of football and he loves to compete. His passion for the game shows on and off the field and I know a number of NFL teams told us they loved his attitude and his skill set.”

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