Center is back on the menu after Steelers' Top 30 visit with Jackson Powers-Johnson

If you were worried the Steelers wouldn't consider a center early in the draft, have no fear.
NFL Combine
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Since the conclusion of the 2023 season, Steelers fans have been banging the table for Pittsburgh to target a center in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Mason Cole was a disaster last year, and after releasing their former starter, the Steelers didn't have a player on their roster with notable starting experience at the position.

Surprisingly, Pittsburgh's brass didn't express much interest in the top center prospects early in the pre-draft process. Outside of Duke's Graham Barton earning a formal Combine visit and a rumored local visit for Zach Frazier, the interest in the top three center prospects seemed minimal.

That changed when Brian Batko of Post-Gazette Sports reported that the Steelers had a Top 30 pre-draft meeting with Oregon's Jackson Powers-Johnson.

Most NFL Draft experts regard Powers-Johnson as the best pure center prospect in the 2024 class. Up until this point, the Oregon product and Senior Bowl standout didn't seem to be a player on their draft radar. While the Steelers did send Pat Meyer to see him at his Pro Day, Pittsburgh's brass was busy signing free agents, and it was unclear how much interest they had in Powers-Johnson.

Jackson Powers-Johnson is finally on Steelers draft radar

All the questions were put to rest following JPJ's pre-draft visit in Pittsburgh. Now we can safely assume that he's a player the Steelers will consider him early in the draft.

Historically, the best indicator of a player on the first-round radar has been those who have Mike Tomlin and the general manager on hand at their Pro Day. But as some fans have pointed out, this is a new regime, and front office heads Omar Khan and Andy Weidl may elect to do things differently.

The question becomes: where will the Steelers consider drafting Jackson Powers-Johnson?

Though the Top 30 pre-draft visit shows that Pittsburgh is interested in the top center prospect, it doesn't necessarily indicate where they would be comfortable taking him in the 2024 NFL Draft. There have been rumors that Powers-Johnson could slip a bit in the draft due to medical concerns.

If this proves to be the case, perhaps the Steelers view him as a player they can pursue early on Day 2 -- possibly with a trade-up in the second round.

Jackson Powers-Johnson has been a player closely associated with and frequently mocked to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it wasn't until now that Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan really showed their interest in drafting him. This Top 30 visit will appease fans -- knowing that he is firmly on their radar in the 2024 NFL Draft.