From GM Steve Buerge: We are very excited to get a player the caliber of Mike Pouncey with the 14th selection in the draft. Mike brings a great deal of flexibility to play any of the three interior line positions and we expect him to push for significant playing time early next season and ultimately to be a fixture as a starter for the next decade. We found great success in drafting Rodger Saffold with the first pick of the second round in last year’s draft as he started all 16 games for us and played well for us as a starting rookie left tackle. We have committed heavily overall to our offensive line over the past couple of years and have confidence in our tackle position, however, one of our most pressing needs heading into the draft was to bring in a quality guard into the fold. Our biggest financial investment on the offensive side the ball of course is our QB Sam Bradford. By drafting Mike we feel we are taking additional steps in protecting that investment and providing additional support to our running game anchored by Steven Jackson. Our running game was not up to Ram football standards last year with only 3.7 yards per rush ranking 31st in the league.
Our game plan coming into this first round had the position of WR as a main target. Given the combine performance of Julio Jones it became apparent he would most likely not last until we were on the board at #14. We felt there was a significant drop-off at the Receiver position once the top two WR’s, Jones and A.J. Green were off the board.
In terms of pass blocking Mike provides a quick initial punch before easing out of his stance. Good balance and lateral agility to mirror the defender. Strong, active hands and long arms allow him to keep his opponent controlled. He also shows impressive flexibility and core strength in being able to anchor against a quality bull rush.
Mike’s run blocking based on our scouting shows he is very quick off the snap. He latches on, shows very good upper-body strength and lateral agility and can turn the defender away from the ball carrier. Plays with good pad level and shows some nastiness in his game. Looks to drive his assignment downfield or into the turf. Pulling/trapping: Good initial quickness out of his stance when pulling. Keeps a tight line around linemates, showing good balance and foot speed to get around the edge. Has light feet for a big man and can locate and get to his target in the open field. Effective trap blocker. Good initial quickness to turn and seal off the defender.
From the Commish
Sayre: To me this is a very odd pick. Pouncey is a very solid player, but I don't think he's anywhere near worth a top 15 selection, but the Rams need to keep Sam Bradford upright. Essentially, this would be the third first round pick they have used on the offensive line with James Brewer being the 33rd selection last year and Jason Smith as the 2nd pick two years ago. That is a lot of money invested in the offensive line, and not so much devoted to the defensive side of the ball or wide receiver. This is a tough pick because Julio Jones and AJ Green are both off the board, but overall, I think they could have found better value.