Mike Pouncey: Miami Dolphins' Center Has Become One of the Best in the NFL

Connor McKnightSenior Analyst INovember 21, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 30:  Center Mike Pouncey #51 of the Miami Dolphins prepares to snap the football to quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 30, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As Miami continues to watch its playoff aspirations slip away, Mike Pouncey has been quietly having a career season.

Pouncey, Miami's 2011 first round draft choice (15th pick overall) out of Florida, has been given the key responsibility of protecting rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, as well as serving as the focal point of the offensive line. Pouncey has excelled at this role, and has excelled at opening up holes for the running game. He has truly been an indispensable member of the line, particularly with Jake Long's struggles this season.

Pouncey had an interesting upbringing in football and not just because his twin brother Maurkice Pouncey currently plays center for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The duo has really emerged as an elite class at center in the NFL.

The brothers both played for Urban Meyer at Florida and were a crucial part of the Gators' squad that won the National Championship in 2008, Mike's sophomore season.

As a freshman, Mike started the season as an offensive lineman protecting none other than Tim Tebow. However, injuries to the defense forced Pouncey to fill in on the defensive line as well, where he recorded eight tackles and had a surprising interception. He started four games as a freshman.

In the Gator's national championship season, Pouncey started all 14 games at right guard as the Pouncey brothers led the way on a strong offensive line; a line that led an offense featuring Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin.

As a junior, Pouncey finally earned the accolades he deserved earning a first team All-SEC selection, as well as a first team All-American award. He was elected captain of the squad as a senior, when he took over as center for the Gators after twin his brother left for the NFL.

And as a pro, Pouncey has been just as fantastic. He was selected in his rookie season as a member of the Professional Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team. And in his sophomore season, he has sights set on the Pro Bowl.

The future looks bright for Mike Pouncey. The Dolphins are fortunate that he will spend, at the very least, his first few seasons in a Miami uniform.