NFL Draft 2011: New England Patriots Eying Florida Gator Mike Pouncey?
NFL Draft 2011 Bill Belichick Checking Out Versatile Gator
Florida Gator interior lineman Mike Pouncey has been a highly regarded prospect due to his position, versatility and blood line. Mike’s twin, Maurkice is the starting center for the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Had Maurkice been able to play in the Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers, he may have added a Super Bowl ring to his already decorated résumé.
He is one of the 30 prospects who could be visiting New England. Belichick is one to toy with the league and make other teams think something completely different than his intended game plan. Yet Pouncey is one of just three offensive linemen to visit the facilities, according to Erik Scalavino of Patriots Football Weekly, which means Belichick could very well be toying with the idea of bringing him in to bolster the offensive line in 2011.
The Pouncey twins won a BCS National Championship together at Florida. It is this winning mentality and swagger that has created an outstanding mystique surrounding both Pouncey brothers. Many general managers are looking at the possibility of drafting Mike to bolster their offensive line with his immense skills and also become a motivating leader for the unit.
According to Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe, “Unless a team overwhelms the Patriots with a trade offer for (Logan) Mankins once a new collective bargaining agreement is in place, he will have to play in 2011 for his $10.1 million franchise tag.”
The Patriots are known for not paying star players outside of franchise quarterback Tom Brady, but the Patriots have actually offered Mankins top-five money for his position. Mankins and his agent have balked at the offer, which means he could be on the way out.
There are plenty of teams searching for an offensive lineman to solidify their offense and take them over the hump. Perhaps one team in need of a player of Mankins’ caliber will pony up and offer Bill Belichick a deal he can’t refuse. Belichick is always willing to trade for picks and with the first two-rounds littered with top-tier talent, we could see Mankins on the way out.
This means the Patriots would in search for an offensive lineman. I’ve already stated that should Mankins stay; the Patriots need to pass on an offensive lineman early. Yet if they do trade Mankins, Belichick would surely admire a player of Pouncey’s caliber.
His versatility and winning mentality is a perfect for Belichick’s Patriots. He is an NFL-ready offensive lineman who can rotate across the line.
Maurkice took the Steelers back to the Super Bowl in 2010. Belichick may believe Mike would be able to take the Patriots back to the Super Bowl in 2011 after being bounced from the playoffs the past two seasons without a single win.
As always, for all of the best NFL Draft 2011 information for all 32 NFL teams, check out Bleacher Report’s dedicated draft section!
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