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2024 NFL Draft

PFF: Steelers Make Sense for Oregon Center Jackson Powers-Johnson

The Pittsburgh Steelers could be the best landing spot for Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson in the NFL Draft.

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Pittsburgh Steelers OL Jackson Powers-Johnson

The Pittsburgh Steelers have needed a center, and there is little question that Jackson Powers-Johnson remains high on that list. And Pro Football Focus believes he could be the perfect first-round pairing with the team.

“The Steelers have a hole in the middle of their offensive line and were reportedly interested in free-agent center Mitch Morse this offseason. Powers-Johnson would be an immediate plug-and-play starter at that spot. Last season, the Oregon product earned an 85.7 PFF grade as a run-blocker and allowed just one pressure from 497 pass-blocking snaps,” they wrote.

Steelers offensive line coach Pat Meyer travelled to Eugene for Oregon pro day to watch Powers-Johnson, according to Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy. Head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Omar Khan were not in attendance, which usually is a sign for future Steelers first-round picks.

But Powers-Johnson was put through his drills by Meyer. In the past, that has been a sign of the team going after someone in the class. This was the case for George Pickens, Joey Porter Jr., and others on the team in the past.

It’s rare for a center to go in the first round, but Powers-Johnson has played himself into legitimate first-round hype. His movement skills for someone of his size, over 330 pounds, are 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 and 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.

While he played center for only one year, he even got some reps at guard and showed up out there. That was for the first time in two seasons, but that type of mentality and performance is what Powers-Johnson brings to the table.

“I just wanted to go out there and have fun,” Powers-Johnson said. “It was a good time. I didn’t want to stress about it.”

Mike Tomlin is all around these guys, but there was an in-depth group of people attending for Pittsburgh. General manager Omar Khan, assistant general manager Andy Weidl, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, and others are in Mobile, but where Tomlin goes is usually a solid indication on just who the Steelers are looking at in the 2024 NFL Draft.

And all he did for the entire day was hang around the offensive line. He stood right on the heels of all of these one-on-ones the entire time, talking to guys like Guyton and Powers-Johnson throughout the afternoon and morning. Tomlin is not lying when he is says he is a junkie come this time of year. But the early indications are simple — the Steelers are looking at the offensive line.