2011 NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins play it safe by picking Mike Pouncey in first round

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: Mike Pouncey, #15 overall pick by the Miami Dolphins, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Safe. That's the buzz word when discussing the Miami Dolphins first round pick, Florida offensive lineman Mike Pouncey. General manager Jeff Ireland even said so himself.

"I think it's a good, safe pick. I know what I'm getting, " said Ireland late last night. "I know exactly what I'm getting with Pouncey. I feel pretty good we've solidified an offensive line here."

Of course, that's part of the problem with this regime, in my opinion. They always play it safe. They don't take risks. And rather than swing for the fences, they are content with drawing a walk.

The Dolphins needed somebody who could come in and make a significant impact on offense. That's how their first round pick should have been invested. An interior offensive lineman, unless he's elite (and Pouncey is not), is not enough of an impact player to warrant having a mid first round pick invested in him.

One of our contributors, Little Nicky 21, brought up a point in our previous post that I wanted to highlight. If Pouncey pans out and becomes a great player, this offense will still struggle as it's currently constituted. If he ends up failing, this offense will continue to struggle. Conversely, if the Dolphins were to draft a guy like Ryan Mallett and he becomes a great player, the Dolphins are probably perennial Super Bowl contenders. And if he becomes a bust, the team will continue to struggle.

So how exactly is taking a potentially great quarterback any more of a risk than taking a solid interior offensive lineman? If either turns out to be a bust, this team will still stink. The ceiling of each, though, and the impact each could have on this team aren't even remotely close.

Pouncey to start out at center

One of the first questions Dolphin fans were asking after the team selected Pouncey was where he'd initially play along the line. Jeff Ireland confirmed last night that he'll start out working as a center because he had Pouncey graded as a center on his board. But that doesn't necessarily mean he'll end up at center. I expect both Pouncey and Richie Incognito to work at both center and left guard and allow the coaches to decide which combination they feel will be more effective.

Dolphins tried to move down

One thing you can't blame Jeff Ireland for was the team's inability to move down in round one. It's clear the Dolphins wanted to trade down. But to pull that off, you need a dance partner.

"It was a quiet day," said Ireland. "The phones were not ringing. He was a player I had targeted. I’m always interested in going back or forth, but the phones just weren’t ringing, so we took the pick."

Final thought...for now

As you can tell, I'm not exactly on board with this pick. But I'll wait to pass a preliminary judgment until we see how the entire offseason, free agency included, shapes up.

I'm also going to just hope I'm dead wrong. Omar Kelly, who started out as one of the biggest anti-Pouncey writers when the draft process began, had a change of heart over the past couple of weeks when he had a chance to watch more film on him. In fact, he ended up putting the Gator offensive lineman on his "mancrush" list - which says a lot since Omar is such a notorious Gator hater.

And lastly, as one person pointed out on Twitter, the Giants and Steelers were both very high on Pouncey. The fact that two of the best teams in terms of talent evaluation and historically two of the best running teams had interest in Pouncey should tell us something about the kid.

Hopefully.

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