The NFL Draft is approaching and begins this Thursday night—April 27th, leading many fans eager, excited, and hopeful about their team’s selections. Each draft brings new life to NFL franchises who can fix the holes their team had the previous year. The Miami Dolphins had plenty of holes last year, and one of them was created by Center Mike Pouncey, who was most recently seen walking with the assistance of a cane at the late Aaron Hernandez’s private memorial service.
The 3x Pro-Bowl center was hit with a fractured left hip in the team’s preseason which forced him to miss the first 5 games, and eventually shut him down after the 5 in which he returned. This is not the first hip injury to have happened to Pouncey. In July 2014, he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip and was forced to miss the opening handful of games in that season. Following the 2015 season in which he signed a 5-year/$52.15 million extension, concerns over Pouncey’s hips grew in 2016 after he had offseason surgery on his right hip, and major concerns developed when he suffered the left hip injury only months after having surgery on the right. All these incidents have caused Mike Pouncey to miss 19 games since his last full season in 2012.
Questions arose and were answered by head coach Adam Gase during the NFL Owner’s Meetings several weeks ago regarding Mike Pouncey’s health and situational status with the team. Gase spoke very strongly about his intentions to stick with his elite talent…
“I’m not going to turn my back on who I think is the best center in football. I’ll roll the dice with him for as long as I can because that’s how good he is. That’s how much he means to our organization. We’re always going to have good contingency plans if something happens. No one is ever going to be as good as him. It’s just a fact. He’s that good.”
It is wise for a coach to have his player’s back. It is also wise to have a plan in place should the center go down again. The question is: will the Dolphins draft insurance for Mike Pouncey? And if so, who?
According to the CBS Sports 2017 NFL Prospect Rankings, there are only 6 centers worthy of being in the top 250 prospects: Pat Elflein, Ethan Pocic, Tyler Orlosky, Kyle Fuller, Cameron Tom, and Jon Toth.
Elfein, Pocic, and Orlosky are ranked as 2nd to 3rd round talents and the Dolphins will probably not be inclined to use such meaningful picks on an insurance policy, especially when so many positional needs have to be met.
Fuller, Tom, and Toth are ranked at #132, #187, and #234. After the Dolphins turn at 97 in the 3rd Round, they do not pick again until 166. Miami has 3 picks in the 5th Round—166, 178, and 184. Their last pick is in the 7th Round at 223.
The Dolphins currently have guards Anthony Steen and Craig Urbik who filled in during Mike Pouncey’s absence last year. It will be interesting to see what the Dolphins do during the 3 days of the NFL Draft.