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Mock Draft Monday: The Steelers look to add an answer at center

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into the 2024 offseason. With free agency as the next big event to shape next season’s roster, it will be followed by the NFL draft in April. The Steelers will have a number of decisions with players who were on the 2023 roster and will have the opportunity to add some free agent acquisitions before making their first draft selection. Now that the NFL combine has come to a close, player pro days will continue to shape the team’s big boards before the draft.

When talking about mock drafts or NFL free agency, one first has to first identify the team’s main needs for the offseason. Before any gains or losses in free agency, there are some who would like to see the Steelers go with either offensive line or defensive line with their first-round pick. Others feel inside linebacker or cornerback could be on top of the list. With plenty of chances for the Steelers to shape their roster prior to April, their goal is usually to get into position to draft the best player available rather than target a specific position. When it comes to what position the team will select with their first pick, it is certainly up for debate.

In one of the latest one-round mock drafts by, they have the Steelers addressing the center position this season before anything else. With the Steelers releasing their starting center from the last two seasons, it has become one of the top positions of need to fill either through free agency or the draft. Since the Steelers could go in any number of directions with their first selection, it is important to look at all the possibilities presented by various mock draft outlets.

Check out the Steelers 20th pick:

20. Pittsburgh Steelers | Jackson Powers-Johnson | C | Oregon | JR |

Even as the draft process rolls on, there may be some players most fans are not familiar with. If this is the case, here is a breakdown of Powers-Johnson according to

Jackson Powers-Johnson, OC, Oregon


  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 320 lbs


  • All-Pac 12 (2023)
  • 4-star recruit


  • Athleticism
  • Hand use
  • Physical temperament


  • Quickness
  • Length

Film Analysis:

Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson is one of the breakout stars of this college football season and has emerged as one of the best centers in all of college football. Powers-Johnson was a 4-star recruit out of high school who contributed in a reserve role his first two seasons primarily playing right guard. Powers-Johnson stepped in the starting lineup this season at center, replacing current Denver Bronco Alex Forsyth, and solidified the Ducks’ offensive line.

Powers-Johnson has very good size for the position and is an outstanding athlete. In the run game, Powers-Johnson flashes excellent athleticism and excels in a zone-based running scheme. He works very well laterally and is outstanding with his footwork and angles to create gaps for his running back. He displays good power overall and will drive his defender back when he gets a hat on a hat. Powers-Johnson has a relentless motor and plays with the type of physicality you want in an offensive lineman, consistently playing through the whistle. Powers-Johnson is outstanding at working in space and is an extremely coordinated big man. He can land on moving targets and is quick enough to get out on wide zone and screens.

In the passing game, Powers-Johnson shows an above-average anchor to stymie bull rushers. He lacks length and will allow defenders to win his chest plate at times. His edges will get exposed at times when facing top-end interior rushers who win with quickness off the snap.

Powers-Johnson is a highly cerebral player who makes all the calls up front. A team captain, Powers-Johnson is a player you want to build your offensive line around and his passion and love for the game is evident when you watch the tape. Powers-Johnson is still a young and ascending player but his physical talent and upside are undeniable and he will be a high-end starting center in the NFL.

Prospect Projection: Day 2 — Winning Starter

For all you who are preparing yourself for the draft, what do you think of the selection? Would you be on board with the Steelers taking Jackson Powers-Johnson with their first pick? Or do you feel there is a better player at this position, a different one who may still be available, or that Powers-Johnson will not make it to the 20th pick? Personally, I think a lot of Steelers’ Nation would be very happy with this choice, especially ahead of any move that could occur during the free agency period. If Powers-Johnson is available at 20, I think a number of Steelers fans would be upset if the Steelers passed on him. Sometimes the Steelers have someone else in mind for later round, but the last time it did not work out too well when they passed on Creed Humphrey because they wanted Kendrick Green. With center being a huge need for the future, unless the Steelers have a red flag for some reason with Powers-Johnson, this would be a selection worth making.

One note specifically about this mock draft, it was set up with the stipulation of where several quarterbacks landed before the draft. It was completely foolish as they had the Steelers sign Kirk Cousins which is not going to happen. Additionally, they had the Raiders trading for Russell Wilson which would be a completely idiotic move as they would have to inherit his contract. So even though the choice of this draft of having the Steelers select Jackson Powers-Johnson was intriguing, the whole set up to the draft was utter foolishness.


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