Steelers mock draft round 2: Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon
Double dipping with Oregon talent here, and unlike a receiver in the first round, no one should be shocked with a center on day two. I said in my previous mock draft that this seems like the round to get your guy, as the top names at the position will likely start to get attention and the pool will get shallow at the position.
Arguably the top center prospect in the draft, Jackson Powers-Johnson is a plug-and-play option for the team in a position of need. He isn’t a flashy prospect on tape, nor does he possess an elite frame or athletic skill set. What he provides is a refined prospect who knows how to hold his own in the middle of the defense.
Powers-Johnson has a mean streak when it comes to run blocking. He loves to push linemen back off the snap and bully them out of plays. In space, he will punish any second-level defenders that attempt to take him on. While a mauler in the run game, his pass blocking is a tad worse. In particular, he struggles to counter faster interior linemen, a growing trend of player in the NFL.
With Mason Cole a shell of himself and a likely cap casualty, finding a natural center that doesn’t need to develop at the next level is key. There are a handful of options that make sense there, and Powers-Johnson is one such fit. He would be an instant starter as a second-round pick and continue with the offensive line rebuild.