Maurkice Pouncey, the Pittsburgh Steelers 2010 first round draft pick this past April, has looked even better than advertised thus far during training camp and the preseason schedule. This spring, it was thought that Pouncey would start at right guard in 2010, while veteran Justin Hartwig played out the final year of his contract as the team’s starting center. Then in 2011 (assuming there was football), Pouncey would slide over to center with a year of experience under his belt.
Not so fast.
Pouncey may be on the inside track to unseating Hartwig as early as Week 1 of the 2010 season. There have been numerous articles written in the past week or so about Hartwig’s future in Pittsburgh. He’s been the consummate professional answering all the speculative questions about what he thinks may happen to him if Pouncey were in fact to win the starting job at center.
Saturday night’s preseason game against the Denver Broncos may go a long way towards determining the final outcome of the competition. Pouncey will get a chance to square off against one of the preeminent nose tackles in the league, Jamal Williams.
Steelers Digest, an outstanding print publication with loads of experienced writers and inside access, had this to say about the competition in a recent tweet (not sure who manages their account):
If Maurkice Pouncey plays well against NT Jamal Williams in Denver on Sunday night, he’ll be the starting center on Sept. 12 vs. Atlanta.
Hard to say if that’s conjecture or based on inside knowledge of the coaching staff’s feelings heading into the game. We’ll find out soon enough, I suppose!