Pittsburgh Steelers: Could Maurkice Pouncey Be the Offensive Rookie Of the Year?

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer IDecember 3, 2010

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 28:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers gets ready to take the snap from Maurkice Pouncey #53 against the Buffalo Bills  at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 28, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Pittsburgh won 19-16 in overtime.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Entering the 2010 NFL Draft, the Steelers had a tough decision they needed to make. Would they add youth to either the offensive or defensive line? Or would they add talent to their secondary?

The Steelers had previously been interested in drafting Alex Mack, but the Browns traded down in the 2009 NFL Draft, and selected Mack before the Steelers had the chance to get him. It was obvious that the offensive line was an issue heading into the 2010 season, and the Steelers have not had a quality center since the retirement of Jeff Hartings.

So, the Steelers were thrilled when Maurkice Pouncey fell to them with the 18th pick in the first round.

Pouncey was not expected to be ready to adjust to the Pro game so quickly. When they drafted Pouncey, they hoped that Pouncey would be able start at right guard. That way, he would be able to learn the center position, get accustomed to the speed and hopefully be able to move to the center position by 2011.

Well, the Steelers found out that Pouncey was better than expected. Not only did he learn how to play the center position, he was by FAR better than any other option the Steelers had at the position, so former starter Justin Hartwig was released. And, Pouncey has started every game of his rookie season.

Pouncey has not only started, but he has also excelled. He has only allowed one sack so far this year.

The only competition to Pouncey for the award, at least in my opinion, would be Sam Bradford, of the St. Louis Rams.

Bradford has played amazingly so far in his rookie season. He has led the Rams to being in a first place tie with a 5-6 record. He has completed 250 of his 430 pass attempts. He has a 17/9 TD/INT ratio. He has taken a team that was the worst in football, to possibly the 2010 NFC West Champions.

Those numbers look good, especially for a rookie. But would you honestly consider Bradford as one of the best at his position in the NFL? Would you say that he is even in the top 15?

I think it would be fair to say that Maurkice Pouncey is at least in the top five centers in the NFL. Does that mean anything to the voters? Would it if Pouncey made it to the Pro Bowl?

Time will tell, but even if he doesn't win the Rookie of the Year, he could still be the best player drafted in the 2010 NFL Draft.