Leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft, the common belief was Florida Gators guard turned center Mike Pouncey would be an effective NFL guard, but was not a high draft pick worthy center. When the Miami Dolphins selected Pouncey with the fifteenth overall pick, it was ridiculed by many as being a reach. As a rookie, Pouncey impressed, to the point he was named a Pro Bowl alternate center. In his sophomore campaign, Pouncey is quickly establishing himself as the best center in the game.
Dwight Stephenson, the Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame center, spoke to MiamiDolphins.com yesterday about Pouncey.
"Year one was outstanding and this year is a continuation of last year," Stephenson said. "He's already good, it's just a question of how good he's going to get, but he does a lot more than probably than what we did when I played. He has all of the tools. He has the physical ability, he's quick, he's strong, he's big and he has the smarts, so I think he's going to continue to be a great center."
Stephenson played for the Dolphins from 1980 to 1987 when a knee injury ended his career early. He was named to five straight Pro Bowls from 1983 to 1987 and was selected to four straight First Team All Pro teams, from 1984 to 1987, as well as being the 1985 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year awardee. Stephenson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
"Two things that are very important for a center are that you've got to be poised and you've got to show leadership out there," Stephenson continued. "The center position I feel is kind of like a natural leadership position because you're the one that sets the huddle, you break the huddle and you take the line up to the line of scrimmage. That's one of the things that I've always enjoyed about it and he's demonstrating that he's handling things quite well."
Pouncey has dominated this season, controlling the Miami blocking assignments as the team transitions to a zone blocking scheme. His play has been so strong, he is currently ranked as the top center in the league, according to Pro Football Focus' rankings.