Ranking every Steelers first-round draft pick of the Mike Tomlin era

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90)
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Maurkice Pouncey, 2010 first-round pick

The Steelers have a long history of great centers, and while Maurkice Pouncey’s career didn’t last as long as some of the former greats, he still left an impact on this team. From the moment he was drafted, Pouncey became the stabilizing force of a line that was transitioning into a great group.

Pouncey only played two seasons at Florida before declaring for the draft. Despite only average testing, the Steelers still made Pouncey their top choice in 2010. He came in and started instantly for this team.

He was an instant star, earning accolade after accolade early on. He did enough to even get votes for offensive rookie of the year, quite the accomplishment for a center. His career didn’t cool off from there, as he continued his top level of play and provided stability at center. This helped him earn a handful of Pro Bowl and All-Pro nominations.

Like DeCastro, Pouncey’s career did get hampered by injuries later on. He was still a fine starter, but mounting injuries began to limit Pouncey late in his career. He retired early (albeit, by his own choice), and rode off into the sunset in 2020.

While many critiqued Pouncey’s play later in his career, the team has struggled to replace even his worst play since he retired. That is a further testament to just the impact player he was. He was recognized as one of the league's best centers for most of his career, and because of that, he earns the second spot for Tomlin's first-round picks.