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Minnesota Vikings select Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder at No. 12

Florida’s Mike Pouncey goes 15th overall to Miami a year after his twin brother, Maurkice, went 18th overall to Pittsburgh.

Getty Images (2009)

Florida’s Mike Pouncey goes 15th overall to Miami a year after his twin brother, Maurkice, went 18th overall to Pittsburgh.

Heading into Thursday night's first round of the NFL draft, former Florida center Mike Pouncey was considered the top prospect among players from Florida colleges.

As it turned out, a former rival stole the spotlight.

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder, who had been considered a potential late first-round pick at best, went 12th to the Vikings.

Pouncey was selected 15th by the Dolphins.

"He's an ideal west coast draft, ideal for what you need in a quarterback for the west coast offense," NFL Network analyst and former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci said of Ponder. "He's perfect for that system."

With his selection, Pouncey fulfilled his wish of being chosen ahead of his twin brother, Maurkice, who was the 18th selection by Pittsburgh in 2010.

"We're competitors, and we had a bet going," said Pouncey, who was accompanied in New York by his family and former Florida offensive line coach Steve Addazio. "He was hoping I went 19th, but I told him I was going to go before that."

Pouncey, 21, who played 54 games at Florida with 45 starts, said he didn't have a lot of contact with the Dolphins prior to being selected. He met with coach Tony Sparano and general manager Jeff Ireland during an allotted 15 minutes at the combine but didn't have any other workouts or meetings.

He said he became interested in the Dolphins and began watching film and researching them on his own. Pouncey said he's not concerned whether he plays guard or center.

"I feel like I'm good at both of them," he said. "I just want to go down there and earn the respect of my teammates. I don't want anything given to me. I want to earn a spot on the team whether it be center or guard."

Ponder, 23, is only the third quarterback the Vikings have taken in the first round, joining Tommy Kramer (27th in 1977) and Daunte Culpepper (11th in 1999).

As a senior, he threw for 2,044 yards, 20 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.

Rick Spielman, the Vikings' vice president for player personnel, said the team likes Ponder's poise, intelligence and accuracy. Spielman, coach Leslie Frazier and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave were impressed during a visit to Tallahassee.

"We all came away from that visit going, 'Man, if that guy's there, it would be hard to pass him up,' " Frazier said.

Ponder joked that he'll be all right with a left tackle (Bryant McKinnie) and a receiver (Percy Harvin) who came from Florida State's two biggest rivals, Miami and Florida, respectively.

"I dealt with being the face of Florida State and handling the pressure there," Ponder said. "Obviously, it's a whole 'nother level in the NFL, but I don't think anyone else puts as much pressure on me as I do on myself. I'm a perfectionist. No one's expectations exceed mine."

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Minnesota Vikings select Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder at No. 12 04/28/11 [Last modified: Friday, April 29, 2011 12:22am]
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