AFC North Top 25: 20th-ranked player

The AFC North blog is continuing its series on the top 25 players in the division with No. 20:


Steelers center

Why Pouncey is ranked 20th: Injuries have stopped Pouncey from reaching his full potential. There were times last season when he looked strong, and there were instances when he seemed off his game. Pouncey was named to both the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams in his first two seasons, but some of that recognition was based on reputation.

He should have a more consistent season in 2012 after having bone spurs removed from his left ankle, the same injured ankle that's forced him to miss the Steelers' past two postseason games. The Steelers' upgrades on the offensive line will also benefit Pouncey. Instead of playing between two undrafted players (Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster), he'll have veteran Willie Colon on his left and first-round pick David DeCastro on his right. This has the makings of a dominant season for Pouncey. That is, as long as he stays healthy.