The Falcoholic will periodically be looking at potential first round picks for the Atlanta Falcons in the 2010 NFL Draft. Today, Florida center Maurkice Pouncey.
Todd McClure isn't getting any younger.
In a nutshell, that's the best argument for taking Maurkice Pouncey with the 19th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Playing a physically demanding position for 12 seasons with very few games off, celebrating your 33rd birthday and putting such a degree of strain on your knees that MacGyver can't fix them with duct tape and tinfoil isn't generally a good recipe for five more years of healthy play. Of course, McClure is tough as hell.
But if that was the only reason, why would the Falcons even consider Pouncey? It's not, of course.
Simply put, Pouncey is one of the best prospects in the draft. He just doesn't happen to be playing a position where most teams invest first round picks.
He's got terrific size for a center at about 6'5" and 305 pounds. He's a fantastic athlete, a quick study and a player who knows on an instinctual level how to block. Frankly, he does just about everything well. It's hard to quibble with his ability, outside of his tendency to be a little too aggressive and his limited experience outside of a shotgun offense. As a center, he's heads and shoulders above every other prospect in this year's draft.
Given all, the question really comes to whether or not the Falcons need a center. I don't think anyone within the range of McClure's fist (85 billion miles) wants to question his ability to play all 16 games in 2010, so it's pretty clearly not going to be this season unless Pouncey can slide to guard in case Harvey Dahl or Justin Blalock get hurt or falter. That's not the likeliest of scenarios, though. If McClure decides to hang up his cleats in 2011, however, Pouncey would immediately step in as a starter, where he could anchor the offensive line for a decade to come.
He's really only a good value here if teams in front of the Falcons go out of their way to steal the prospects who top the team's big board. Pouncey's been linked to the Falcons in the past and I'm sure the interest is legitimate, I still can't picture the team making offensive line a higher priority than defense, even if I do believe we need an infusion of young talent there. In a year where the Falcons had really built the team into a vision ordained by Our Most Glorious Comrade, Pouncey might have been the likeliest pick. Where we still don't have the ability to invest early picks in luxuries, I doubt very much that this will happen.