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Steelers select C Jackson Powers-Johnson in NFL Nation Mock Draft

Brian Jones Profile Picby:Brian Jones04/23/24


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Craig Strobeck/USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are ready to welcome former Oregon Ducks center Jackson Powers-Johnson to the family. On ESPN’s NFL Nation Mock Draft, Steelers reporter Brooke Pryor selected Powers-Johnson to the team at No. 20 overall.

“The Steelers used free agency to get most of their ducks in a row, signing for Russell Wilson and trading for Justin Fields,” Pryor said on the SportsCenter special. “But they’ll use the draft to get perhaps the most important duck in Powers-Johnson, using their first-round pick on an offensive lineman for their second year in a row.

“The team released starting center Mason Cole just prior to free agency, meaning that Powers-Johnson, a Rimington Trophy winner for the nation’s best center, will be expected to contribute flock early.”

Along with winning the Rimington Trophy, Powers-Johnson was named a First-Team Pac-12 player and First-Team All-American. Lance Zerlein of gave his analysis of the standout offensive lineman and compared him to Quinn Meinerz.

Jackson Powers-Johnson has ‘long time starter’ traits

“Broadly built center prospect with below-average length but above-average upper-body power,” Zierlein wrote. “Powers-Johnson isn’t much of a knee-bender, which impacts his pad level and drive leverage, but he can torque and toss opponents around with some regularity at the point. Powers-Johnson is a fierce competitor with a salty disposition but needs to improve his first-phase technique to create more consistent block sustains.

“Despite average athleticism, he doesn’t seem to have many issues in pass protection, as he works with clear eyes, a wide base and good discipline to keep his weight back. His rookie season could be bumpy if he has to play early, but he should come out on the other side as a long-time starter.

As Pryor mentioned, Powers-Johnson will join a Steelers team that will have Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson. It was one of the many moves the team made during the offseason to make a run at the Super Bowl in 2024.

“I’m excited about the draft because of just the quality work that we’ve been able to get done in free agency as a means by which we develop our football team for 2024,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters this week.

“We’ve been very active in free agency, and that makes you really comfortable as we lean in on draft weekend. You know we’ve addressed a lot of needs and you don’t feel overly thirsty in any particular area, and I just think that’s a good feeling as you go into the weekend.”