Posted by Andy Benoit
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Steelers first-round rookie Maurkice Pouncey is getting snaps (or, more accurately, giving snaps) as the first team center in Pittsburgh. Incumbent center Justin Hartwig is still splitting snaps with the starters, as well.
Pouncey was drafted to assume the long-term job at center, but the original plan was for him to play guard early on. The Steelers prefer to groom their rookies as backups in Year One (they took this route with Troy Polamalu, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, Willie Colon, Rashard Mendenhall, etc.) The last rookie to start regularly for the team was tight end Heath Miller in 2005.
However, since Day One, Pouncey has been miles ahead of expectations. Mike Tomlin even complimented the youngster’s awareness and savvy during the minicamps. Physically speaking, Pouncey is Pittsburgh’s most gifted center (Hartwig’s lack of initial quickness consistently makes him vulnerable when opponents attack the gaps over his outside shoulder). With his mental aptitude, it looks like he may already be Pittsburgh’s best center.
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