Connect with us

2024 NFL Draft

Two Steelers Center Targets Fly up Draft Boards

The Pittsburgh Steelers need a center but two of their targets are flying up draft boards it would appear.



Pittsburgh Steelers Jackson Powers-Johnson
Oregon center Jackson Powers Johnson in a game - Oregon Athletics

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ need at center could be addressed through the NFL Draft with two highly talented options: Jackson Powers-Johnson and Zach Frazier. And while both players are mocked to the team quite often, they are both starting to climb up NFL Draft boards.

In Daniel Jeremiah’s new Top-50, Powers-Johnson rocked up six spots from 35 to 29 overall. Meanwhile, Frazier climbed from 37 to 32. That puts both either in the first round or on the fringe of the first round, and with many center-needy teams, it would make a lot of sense for both to go inside the Top 40 at the very least.

Powers-Johnson has played himself into legitimate first round hype. His movement skills for someone of his size, over 330 pounds, is so rare. And yet, he has only started for one legitimate season. For someone that inexperienced at center to play the way he did speaks to coaching, but also the rare player he is coming out of college.

On his lone day at the Senior Bowl, Powers-Johnson showcased elite core strength, and even reset his hands twice after getting beat initially underneath his pads. But he is a former wrestler and understands how to maximize leverage and win at the point of attack. It should be no surprise that he has already made a name for himself.

Frazier’s strong recovery from his injury and his ability to show his full health before the draft has him rocketing up draft boards. A player that was routinely linked to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the team’s second-round pick, the Steelers may need to use their first-round pick at No. 20 overall , trade back or trade up in the second round to make sure they get Frazier at this point.

If the team can not grab either option, that could open themselves up to grabbing Duke’s Graham Barton instead.

In the past Barton has played at left tackle and center, but he played at center in 2020. That is only one year of experience, though most teams say Barton will shift inside. The Steelers are unlikely to draft a guy who will project as a guard, so if they draft Barton, it will be because they view him as an interior offensive lineman or believe he can stick it out at tackle.

He’s a talented, smooth mover. And Barton, with all of his experience, has become one of the more polished players in this class. You can compare him closely to Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski from the 2023 NFL Draft. But his potential center capabilities make him extremely intriguing for a team like Pittsburgh.