After lots of suspense, and with some appealing prospects still on the board, the Miami Dolphins went ahead and addressed their needs in the interior of the offensive line by choosing Mike Pouncey out of the University of Florida in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft at No. 15. He took over at center for the Gators last year after his twin brother, Maurkice, left for the pros and made an immediate impact for the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 18th overall pick.

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At 6-foot-5 and 303 pounds, Pouncey has the versatility to play guard or center and he even played a little defensive tackle as a freshman for the Gators. By going 15th overall to Miami, Pouncey fulfilled his goal of going higher than his brother and is intent on making a similar impact as a rookie this coming season.

“It is real important and it shows that all of the hard work finally paid off,” Pouncey said during his conference call with the South Florida media. “Me and my brother, we’re fierce competitors and I told him when I was coming back to school and he came out that I was going to get drafted higher than him.”

Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland began forming a strong opinion of Pouncey before last year’s draft because he had his eye on Maurkice at the time. So he and Head Coach Tony Sparano had plenty of film on their future first-round pick already and Ireland indicated the plan is to line Pouncey up at center but will leave the possibility open that the coaches could shift him to guard.

By the time Pouncey walked into the interview room in Indianapolis at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, Ireland knew how he was going to test him having done so with his brother and knew what he was looking for in return.

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