There has been much talk in the NY media about Jets 2nd round draft pick kicker Mike Nugent and that’s not surprising since it’s rare that a special teams player is picked so high. More than a few eyebrows were raised when Bradway nabbed Nugent with the #47 overall pick.
Surprisingly though, Bradway’s 3rd round pick #91 DT Sione Pouha seemed to fly under the radar and get drafted without much fanfare. Taken with the 88th pick, he was the oldest player selected in the draft at age 26 (due to a three year Mormon mission where he left school) and most of the time players his age are already seasoned veterans and renegotiating their NFL contracts. Not Pouha, who just completed his rookie symposium this week.
Pouha is enjoying the NFL experience so far.
“It’s like a dream come true”, said Pouha. “The dream is finally a reality and here I am in the NFL. I’ve been playing football since I was eight years old and have worked towards this moment my whole life, now it’s all here and happening, it’s a reality.”
Pouha is a Mormon and after playing college football at the University of Utah, moving to NY has been a bit of culture shock.
“It’s totally different here”, said the Rookie. “My whole family is from Utah and we were brought up in the Mormon community. Up here in the Northeast there’s not a lot of Mormons, are there?” laughed Sione. “But hey we all pretty much worship the same God…right?”
Pouha’s pre-draft scouting reports varied widely. The curve was large. Some scouts saw him as high as a second round pick while others slated him as being undrafted. Pouha is satisfied with being chosen in the third round and relishes his opportunity.
“I was thrilled to be invited to play for the Jets because that’s the way I look at it”, said Pouha. "When you are invited somewhere, like a family party or a friends wedding, you put on your best. You buy a new suit, you fix yourself up and you bring your best to the people that invited you. That’s why I look at this as an invitation from the NY Jets and not being just drafted by them.”
With long time starting DT Jason Ferguson signing with Dallas this off-season, the Jets will likely move the massive Pouha (6’3”-329 Lbs.) right into the defensive line rotation as a run stopper. His job will also be to keep the opponent’s offensive linemen off of the Jets’ linebackers. Mainly, playmaker Jonathan Vilma. Since he’s moved from college to the NFL, Pouha knows it’s all business.
”The [Jets] players here are dead serious” said the big Samoan”. In class, at practice, they only care about one thing, winning the Super Bowl. The guys are tight and constantly pump each other up. Vic (Hobson), Eric (Barton) and Dewayne (Robertson) were pumping me up at OTA’s and yelling - c’mon rook, go get’em rook, 3-30 rook, and at that moment, I knew this is exactly where I am supposed to be in my life, playing for the New York Jets.”
Pouha was impressed by the welcome he got from his new teammates.
“I was instantly welcomed by Kevin Mawae, Curtis Martin and Chad Pennington. Jonathan Vilma pulled me aside and gave me the run down on what to expect my rookie year, that meant a lot to me. Shaun Ellis took me aside and explained the defense a bit and the guys made me feel like part of the team right away. But what amazed me most is how generous every one is with their time and advice, they are like - here, take the shirt off my back if you need to, take whatever you need to in order to succeed, because we’re all here for the same reason, the trophy.”
After seeing the turnaround that Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson pulled off with the Jets’ defense last year, Pouha is excited to be working with him. On the other hand, he’s already experienced Henderson’s well known wrath.
“Whew, that man [Henderson] is one tough coach and he’s been riding me since day one. But Jonathan (Vilma) and a few of the guys said it’s a good sign that the Coach is hard on me. He expects big things and we are all here to win games and get to the Super Bowl.”
Pouha is also aware that there will be a lot of competition in camp for playing time and it doesn’t phase him.
“The best man for the job will win out”, said Pouha. “This team is all about winning the Super Bowl. If any of my teammates play better than me, then they deserve a spot, it’s all about winning. The guys can’t impress that upon me enough.”
Sione Pouha (pronounced - See-Own ~ Bo-OOH-Ha) is Jets Insider.com fan and when I asked him a few questions from regular posters on the JI Messageboard he was happy to oblige.
From Y2K8: A player can have 3 CDs as they are stranded on a deserted island. What are they?
Pouha: “All Bob Marley, I love Reggae music.”
From Jetsfan99: If you weren't playing football, what would you be doing right now?
Pouha: “Football coaching and teaching in the Utah Mormon churches and schools.”
From KBJETS: Ginger or Mary Anne?
Pouha: “Neither, more like just get me the heck off this island and back to the mainland.”
From Bwana Zulia: What is the last book you read?
Pouha: “The playbook.” Did you read Herm's book? “I didn’t know he had a book out.”
From Maven:, Do you realize that you have the perfect name in which the fans can use like the Al TOOOOOOON cheer? They're not booing; they're actually saying B-OOOOOOOOO-Ha!
Pouha: “Sounds good to me, the fans are the best part of the game and recognizing me like that would be an honor.”
From HMHertz: If it wasn't financially advantageous or due to a contractual obligation would you be here on the strength of Herman's intellectual prowess?
Pouha: “Yes. If Herm were a college coach, I’d want to play there, I think he’s the man.”
From JYtheJetsfan: What is the team’s mentality going into this year?
Pouha: “To win the Super Bowl.” What’s the pulse of the team like at this point? Same answer…we’re going to work as a cohesive unit and win the Super Bowl.”
From The Franchise: How is it going to feel when you hoist the trophy this year and win Super Bowl XL?
Pouha: “Mission accomplished.”