Bloodline (n): an animal's set of ancestors or pedigree, typically considered with regard to the desirable characteristics bred into it.
The Steelers knew what they were getting when they selected Maurkice Pouncey with the 18th pick of the 2010 draft: a highly experienced and powerful player that has had great success while starting at both the guard and center positions.
As you know, this pick turned out to have great value. Maurkice Pouncey earned All-Pro Honors in his rookie year while also making a trip to the Pro Bowl. He was the leading force behind the Steelers offensive line.
Although many people think Florida Gator football ended after Tim Tebow departed for the NFL, it didn't. Maurkice Pouncey's brother, Mike, needed to make a positional change to center in order to compensate for the gap after the draft.
Prior to this change, Mike Pouncey had a ton of success at the guard position, as he received first-team All-American honors in 2009: He was extremely athletic, had great feet and was a great run blocker.
However, when Mike Pouncey switched to center, things did not go exactly as planned. He showed to be inconsistent throughout the season and often was beaten by faster rushers. Most importantly, he struggled with snapping the ball, which led to other problems in his mechanics.
Many people, including myself, thought this would serve as a major red flag to any team that was planning on drafting him.
Maurkice Pouncey's success in the NFL counter-acted Mike's flaws in college football and actually boosted his draft stock from the beginning of the season (he was originally expected to be a second- or third-round selection).
In fact, Mike Pouncey's bloodline helped his draft stock so much he was drafted three spots ahead of his brother in the 2011 draft at the 15th pick by the Miami Dolphins. This is ludicrous! Mike replaced his brother for one year at the center position, after Maurkice started there for two years and had more success.
Having said that, I am not saying that Mike Pouncey will not have success in the NFL; on the contrary, I think he will do quite well. I'm just stating he will not have as much initial success as his brother, Maurkice, did.
Mike Pouncey will take time to develop into an elite interior lineman in the NFL, and he has two career path options:
1. Learn how to properly snap the ball and fix his footwork and reaction-time that comes with being a center. Additionally, he will need to learn how to lead the offensive line.
2. Fail at developing into a center and revert back to his old position at guard. Due to his athleticism, he should have almost no problem becoming an elite guard in the league.
In conclusion, the Pouncey Brothers are great examples of how bloodlines are overvalued in the NFL. Teams should pay more attention to a player's skill and potential rather than what members of his family have accomplished.
I will be shocked if Mike Pouncey makes the Pro Bowl in his first year as a center.