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2024 NFL Draft

Mel Kiper Reveals His Center Rankings in 2024 NFL Draft

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper revealed his center rankings in the 2024 NFL Draft, with some interesting distinctions.



Steelers WVU C Zach Frazier

The Pittsburgh Steelers will need to invest at center in the 2024 NFL Draft, but when remains the biggest question. They have often mocked a center in the first round often, but so far, the level of interest does not match what is usually needed for the team to draft someone in the first round.

Then, the reports from Field Yates and Mel Kiper of ESPN on Friday jolted everything. The top three centers in this class are thought to be Duke’s Graham Barton, Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson, and West Virginia’s Zach Frazier. While a first-round pick seems likely the Steelres at that position, they could take one in the second round. And that might be because they will fall.

“You see where we are with Jackson Powers-Johnson, I see a lot of first-round mocks with him, but most of my friends in the NFL, they are thinking more second round,” Kiper said on the First Draft Podcast. “They don’t get some of the mocks. But hey, those mocks are talking to their people; we don’t talk to everybody. But I will say on Jackson Powers-Johnson, my intel says second round on him.”

Kiper and Yates broke down Yates’ latest mock draft, in which he had Powers-Johnson at 35th and Frazier at 37th. The intel that Yates got back from the people he talked to is that he was too high on the centers.

“Mel, I mocked them early in the second round, obviously, and the feedback that I have gotten since this mock dropped is that both of the centers were too high — both Jackson Powers-Johnson and Zach Frazier,” Yates said. “Graham Barton, he’s an unimpeachable first round pick. I might have been too low on Barton with him at 20th overall. But I think that’s the range, though, somewhere in the first part of the second half of the first round.”

But on Saturday, Kiper released his big board of rankings. All three of those players? They’re nowhere to be found. And interestingly, while Barton is the top center, Frazier comes before Powers-Johnson. The signals continue to come for the Steelers that there might be a much softer market for center despite apparent needs for the position across the league. It is a position that is routinely discounted in drafts, though, so it naturally tracks.

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 who is inexperienced at center to play the way he did speaks to coaching and is the rare player, he is coming out of college. Barton and Frazier, on the other hand, are polished and easy to slot in as starters. If one drops to 51, expect the Steelers to make that pick a center.