Dolphins take Mike Pouncey with 15th overall pick
Published: Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 9:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 9:37 p.m.
Florida center Mike Pouncey is not going be reunited with this twin brother on the same team in the NFL, but he is going to have a chance to play his pro football closer to the rest of his family.
Pouncey, who grew up in Lakeland, was drafted in the first round Thursday night by the home-state Miami Dolphins with the 15th overall selection.
Many were projecting Pouncey to be scooped up by the Dolpins with the 15th pick, and that’s exactly the way it played out in a relatively unpredictable first round.
“It’s a lifelong dream,” said Pouncey, who was in New York for the draft with the rest of his family, including twin brother Maurkice Pouncey. “All the hard work finally paid off. I’m glad the Dolphins drafted me with the 15th pick.”
Minutes after the selection, Mike and Maurkice stood together side-by-side just offstage, both wearing Dolphins caps. Maurkice was taken in the first round a year ago by Pittsburgh with the 18th overall pick.
“I told him I was going to go ahead of him,” Mike Pouncey said.
“I wanted him to go one pick after me, but I’m happy for him right now,” Maurkice said. “It’s a dream come true, it really is.”
There had been talk in the final days leading up to the draft that the Steers might try to trade up to take Mike Pouncey and reunite the twins on Pittsburgh’s offensive line. But the trade was never made, and the Dolphins picked the guy that they were targeting in the first round.
“We’re real happy,” said Pouncey’s mother, Lisa Webster, who was at the draft with her husband and twin sons. “Miami was the place we wanted to go if it wasn’t going to be the Steelers. We’re happy we’re going to have Mike close to home.
“(The draft) was nerve-wracking. We kept hearing names getting called. When the 15th pick came up, ESPN kept showing (Alabama running back) Mark Ingram. But then Mike’s phone rang, and we knew it was the Dolphins.”
Pouncey is projected to go in and possibly be an instant starter on the Miami offensive line, either at center or guard, where the Dolphins have a need.
“I just want to go down there and earn it,” he said. “I don’t want anything given to me.
“I’m going to work as hard as I can. I can’t wait to get down there and meet my teammates and coaches. I’m glad to be a Dolphin. Miami is the first team I had on the radar and it’s a perfect fit for me.”
A stellar UF career, Pouncey started every game on the Gators’ offensive line the past three seasons (39 starts). He was a standout guard his sophomore and junior seasons, then made the move to center, where he replaced his brother, an All-America, for his senior season.
Maurkice Pouncey made the Pro Bowl team this past season as a rookie.
Mike Pouncey made the switch to center last spring to improve his draft stock, and it apparently was the right move.
“I’m happy for Mike that he is getting the chance to realize a lifelong dream,” new Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “I didn’t coach Mike, but I’ve had the opportunity to meet him, and you can tell that he has a passion for the game. I wish him the best of luck.”
The Gators have now had at least one player taken in the first round for five consecutive NFL drafts, and in 14 of the last 21. Pouncey is the 43rd Gator all-time selected in the first round. He is the first UF player drafted by the Dophins since Miami took linebacker Channing Crowder in the third round in 2005.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.