Two Steelers Center Targets Move Up Draft Boards

The Pittsburgh Steelers need a center, but two of their top targets appear to be rising in the draft ranks.


The Pittsburgh Steelers’ need at center might be filled through the NFL Draft by two highly talented players: Jackson Powers-Johnson and Zach Frazier. And, while both guys are frequently derided by the organization, they are both beginning to climb NFL Draft boards.


Powers-Johnson moved up six ranks in Daniel Jeremiah’s new Top-50, from 35 to 29. Meanwhile, Frazier advanced from 37 to 32. That puts both in the first round or on the cusp of the first round, and with so many center-needy teams, it would make a lot of sense for both to be in the Top 40 at the absolute least.


Powers-Johnson has maneuvered himself into real first-round buzz. His mobility abilities for someone his size, over 330 pounds, are extremely unique. Nonetheless, he has only started one legitimate season. For someone so inexperienced at center to play the way he did speaks much about coaching, as well as the uncommon player he is coming out of college.


On his one day at the Senior Bowl, Powers-Johnson demonstrated remarkable core strength and even reset his hands twice after being beat underneath his pads. However, he is a former wrestler who understands how to use leverage and win at the point of attack. It’s no surprise that he’s already established a name for himself.


Frazier’s excellent recovery from his injury, combined with his ability to demonstrate his complete health before to the draft, has propelled him to the top of draft boards. A player that has been linked to the Pittsburgh Steelers with their second-round pick, the Steelers may need to utilize their first-round pick at No. 20 overall, trade down, or trade up in the second round to ensure Frazier at this point.


If the team is unable to secure either choice, they may consider acquiring Duke’s Graham Barton instead.


Barton has previously played both left tackle and center, but he played center in 2020. That is only one year of experience, but most teams believe Barton will move inside. The Steelers are unlikely to choose a guard, but if they do, it will be because they see Barton as an interior offensive lineman or believe he can play tackle.

He’s a skilled, fluid mover. And, with all of his experience, Barton has emerged as one of the class’s most polished players. He’s a lot like Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski from the 2023 NFL draft. However, his future center qualities make him a highly appealing prospect for a team like Pittsburgh.

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