NEW YORK – It’s a longstanding strategy among teams to avoid drafting interior offensive linemen too early, based on their value in relation to other positions. But we know this draft is setting up to be unlike any other.
So what happens when an interior offensive lineman grades out in the top half of the first round in a draft where offensive line is an overall strength, as could be argued is the case this year with Florida’s Mike Pouncey? Do teams think outside the box — or in this case, inside — if Pouncey is the best player available on their board in the middle of Round 1?
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock has said in the days leading up to the draft that Pouncey could be taken as early as No. 14 overall to the Rams. As that conversation has heated up, Marshall Faulk believes Pouncey to St. Louis is a very real possibility. Faulk took him in that spot in the NFL Media mock draft. He sees Pouncey at guard next to Jason Brown, who is in the middle of a large contract that might prohibit the Rams from investing in another lineman.
Michael Lombardi is on board that Pouncey will be in consideration in the middle of the first, but he has the Rams looking defense and the Patriots taking him at No. 17. When Mayock unveiled his mock draft Wednesday night, Pouncey went No. 15 to the Dolphins.
In any case, Pouncey seems to be the exception to the draft rule this year.
– Frank Tadych