June 13, 2024

Steelers hoping bye week will benefit Kenny Pickett and struggling offense | Pittsburgh Post-GazetteAs they say, people are doomed to repeat history if they don’t study it. On the other hand, the Pittsburgh Steelers would dearly love for some recent history to recur. The All NFL Draft’s Luke Easterling of SI.com projected that the Steelers would choose Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson at No. 20 overall in his most recent NFL mock draft.

Powers-Johnson is being compared to former Steelers All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey, even though it’s early in the selection process.

Easterling stated, “Pittsburgh could select offensive tackle in the first round for the second consecutive year, but they also need an upgrade at center.” “Powers-Johnson will set that kind of tone in the trenches, and new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith will want to re-establish a physical identity around a dominant ground game.”

Michael Beck of SB Nation compared Pouncey’s and Powers-Johnson’s potential. For his 11-year career, the former center for the Steelers was named to the first team All-Pro twice and the second team All-Pro three times.

“Recall how Maurkice Pouncey’s draft pick immediately improved the Steelers offense? Beck used to write on X, which was Twitter.

“Powers-Johnson has that same potential, in my opinion.”

An offensive tackle would be the most logical pick if the Steelers decide to select an offensive lineman in the first round. The Steelers might benefit from an upgrade at right tackle even if 2023 first-round selection Broderick Jones moves to left tackle.

However, as Easterling stated, Pittsburgh may also improve greatly at center.

Mason Cole, the starting center for the Steelers, had a difficult 2023. Out of his six NFL seasons, Cole has four PFF grades below 60. He then had a career-low grade of 53.2 in 2023.

Cole was ranked 18th out of 20 centers by PFF who had more than 1,000 snaps.

He had the most difficulty with pass protection. PFF ranked Cole 52nd out of 56 centers who participated in the previous season for pass blocking.

Powers-Johnson might be a better choice right away. He is rated as one of the top two centers available in the 2024 draft class by both PFF and ESPN.

In its most recent draft rankings, Bleacher Report ranks Powers-Johnson as the second-best interior offensive lineman in the 2018 class.

In terms of rushing yards, the Steelers moved up from 19th to 11th in 2010 during Pouncey’s debut campaign. In addition, Pittsburgh gave up seven fewer sacks in Pouncey’s rookie NFL season.

Pouncey was a rookie who made the Pro Bowl and the second team All-Pro. The following season, he was named to the first team of the All-Pros, and again in the second team in 2012.

Steelers and Powers-Johnson to Face Off at the 2024 Senior Bowl
Not just in lighthearted fictitious mock drafts, are the Oregon center and the Steelers associated.

On January 31, Powers-Johnson informed Jonathan Heitritter of Steelers Depot that he would meet the Steelers at the 2024 Senior Bowl.

Had a brief conversation with Coach Tomlin yesterday,” Powers-Johnson informed Heitritter. “I just said hello and introduced myself. I believe we had an interview two days ago. I believe I have an interview with them scheduled for this evening.

Additionally, during drills, the Oregon center spent time with Tomlin, according to SI.com’s All Steelers’ Nick Martin.

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