BROCK AND SALK

Brock’s Seahawks Draft Profiles: ‘The best center’ in the 2024 class

Mar 29, 2024, 9:43 AM | Updated: 10:03 pm

Seattle Seahawks NFL Draft Jackson Powers-Johnson...

Jackson Powers-Johnson of Oregon snaps against the UW Huskies on Oct. 14, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Who will the Seattle Seahawks select with their first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft at No. 16 overall? Someone who may be in consideration there is standout Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson, who was the focus of Brock Huard’s draft profile on Thursday’s edition of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

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What makes Powers-Johnson such an intriguing prospect? According to Huard, it’s pretty simple.

Cream of the crop at his position

“He is the best center in this draft. He was the Rimington Award winner last year, which is the award that goes to the best center in college football. He was a unanimous All-American, he was a first-team all-conference member,” Huard said. “And then his stock exploded at the Senior Bowl. Every year you see this. (They’re) really good players and then they go to the Senior Bowl and they compete and you’re like, ‘Wow, that dude is just next level.’ And he’s next level with his athleticism. He’s 6 foot 3 1/2 and 328 pounds. This is a big man. This is a very different center size-wise from what the Seahawks have had the last three, four or five years … (Former starting Seahawks center from 2009-14 and fellow Oregon center) Max Unger was about that tall, but I don’t know if he was 328 pounds coming out of school (Editor’s Note: Unger was 309 pounds at the 2009 combine). And (Unger) certainly didn’t have a 32-inch vert, didn’t rep 225 (pounds) 30 times (in the bench press) like this guy did. I mean, he checks boxes for power, for strength, for agility.”

Huard, a college football analyst for FOX Sports, added that Powers-Johnson is the most talkative offensive lineman he’s ever spoken to in media meetings leading up to calling a game.

“He talked about his ballroom dancing days growing up in Utah, talked about him being undersized at like 230 (pounds early in high school). He was always a really good athlete, and then all of a sudden he gets to about 280 and was like, ‘Wow, now I can really be something.’ And then the recruiting scene exploded and he was an Under Armour All-American and all of the rest of that stuff,” he said. “And if you’ve heard me say this once, you’re gonna hear me say this probably quite a bit through this next month and in the years to come: remember when they introduce the Seahawks (before a game) like they’re gonna introduce the Mariners for opening day and you see the guys run out? You watch a lot of the linemen and you’re like, ‘Wow, that must hurt. Gosh, they’re carrying a lot of weight. Ooh.’ And then you watch (former Seahawks left tackle) Duane Brown run out and you’re like, ‘That’s an athlete.'”

“Jackson Powers-Johnson when he runs out of the tunnel looks like he’s 225 (pounds, and) he’s 328. There’s not a lot of guys like that,” Huard added. “There’s not a lot of humans like that. This draft class has a ton of them on the offensive line, more than any I can remember in recent years. And the best of them at center happens to be the kid out of Oregon, (went to) high school in Utah and is one heck of a character.”

What is Jackson Powers-Johnson’s draft stock?

The Seahawks hold the No. 16 overall pick in this year’s draft. Could Powers-Johnson be the pick there if he’s available?

“He could be sitting there at 16. But you can’t take him at 16. You can’t take a center (there),” Huard said. “I know that. (Los Angeles Chargers head coach) Jim Harbaugh may disagree, but I don’t think you can take one that high. And the minute you trade down, somebody else may end up getting him.”

But if the Seahawks trade down? Huard said then it’s more of a conversation.

“I think you could trade down from 16 if you feel like he’s that good a dude. So do we want to anchor with our two young tackles (in left tackle Charles Cross and right tackle Abraham Lucas) and our center, and then we’ll fill in some spots and try to make do at guard with some veterans or maybe a third- or fourth-rounder at guard as well?” Huard said. “This is a draft where it sure feels like you’ve got to take two offensive linemen. I don’t think you need to reach and I don’t think it can be totally need-based. But this offensive line group of guards, centers, tackles, there’s enough talent to me to stretch within three rounds that is not a reach. I think you’ve got to come out of this draft with a couple big hogs up front.”

Hear Brock Huard’s full Seattle Seahawks draft profile of Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson in the podcast at this link, or in either the video or audio player near the top of this post. Catch a new profile at 9 a.m. on every edition of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk leading up to the NFL Draft.

More Seattle Seahawks draft profiles

• Brock’s Seattle Seahawks Draft Profile: ‘Twitched up’ LB fills a need
• Brock’s Seattle Seahawks Draft Profile: Pros, cons of UW DE Bralen Trice
• Brock Huard’s Seattle Seahawks Draft Profiles: Penn St’s eye-opening TE

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