Many wondered what the Steelers would do to utilize their first round pick in 2010.
If you believed Mike Tomlin and knew about his propensity to refrain from starting rookies, you likely expected Pouncey to battle for the job at right guard this season.
If you know the game, what Pouncey brings to the table, and what he is best suited for in the Steelers' offense, you knew it was only a matter of time before he unseated the porous Justin Hartwig and became the team’s starting center.
While it would be easy to question the wisdom of starting a rookie at the center position in the NFL, you don’t have to be very observant to see the flashing Vegas-style signs here.
Hartwig is coming off one of the worst seasons a center has ever had wearing black and gold, and he doesn’t look to have revitalized his game during the offseason.
Pouncey has shown a football intelligence beyond his years since coming to camp, and the quick respect he has earned on the field from both the offensive and defensive veterans is only punctuated by the raw physical tools he brings to the table.
Pouncey got an opportunity at the request of Ben Roethlisberger, and they have continued to work privately with the help of veterans like James Harrison after practice sessions all week.
His mobility and comfort with the technique at the position have been evident in his play both in his first preseason game and also in team scrimmages, where he has consistently stonewalled his man and gotten to the second level to make an additional block.
Pouncey’s presence and ability to get to that second level will instantly upgrade the Steelers’ running game and allow for the best five guys to be on the field.
* Additional Notes
Expect Justin Hartwig to be cut if he is supplanted by Pouncey. With the emergence of Doug Legursky this offseason, the Steelers have the freedom to relieve themselves of Hartwig’s high salary if he is not going to start.