Director of football operations Kevin Colbert joked after selecting Maurkice Pouncey with the number one pick that it wasn't much of a surprise that the Steelers choose the Florida center.
"Well I don't think there was any big secret or surprise, because I think that every mock draft that I saw had us picking Maurkice Pouncey," said Colbert. "We're extremely excited that he was available for the 18th pick."
Not as excited as Pouncey, though.
"It feels great man," said Pouncey. "I wanted this from day one. I'm so happy to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. I just like the Steelers so much.All the fans and the city; that's the team I met with at the combine and I fell in love with. They weren't my favorite team growing up, but now since I've been to the combine and I've watched all the great years they've had - I about fell in love with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I can't wait to get there. It's unexplainable."
Pouncey will initially be utilized by the Steelers at guard, a position he started at as a freshman at before moving to center.
"He's a guy that we viewed as an interior capable offensive lineman with flexibility," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "He has the type of playing demeanor that we covet, he's a physical guy, he's football smart and we're excited about having him.
The Steelers targeted Pouncey early on, spending time with him at the NFL Combine and at his pro day at the University of Florida. He made quite the impression.
"Coach (Sean) Kugler, our new offensive line coach, put him on the board and spent some time with him and really his intelligence was very impressive, which is a premium for that position," said Colbert. "He did a great job on the board, watching film with Coach Kugler and we just came away more impressed."
Pouncey has high expectations for his rookie season, saying his plan is to come in and start right off the bat. He has yet to talk to the coaches about what his role will be something he is sure he will get a feel for when he arrives in Pittsburgh on Friday. But he is willing to do whatever is asked of him.
"It's perfect," said Pouncey of the option at guard or center. "I can play either or."
One thing that will be new for Pouncey this year, though, is playing without his twin brother Mike alongside him on the line. While Maurkice decided to forgo his final year at Florida, Mike is returning for another season.
"This will be the first time," said Pouncey of them not playing together. "It will be something new for us. I mean we're grown now, we're twin brothers, we love each other to death, but we know this is a time of our lives that we're going to separate and it happened today. And I think we're grown men and we can handle it."
And from the sounds of things, Pouncey can handle that and a lot more.