Why did Jackson Powers-Johnson's stock fall in 2024 NFL Draft? Outlining potential reasons for Oregon center's slump

NFL: Combine
Why did Jackson Powers-Johnson's stock fall in 2024 NFL Draft? Outlining potential reasons for Oregon center's slump

Had Jackson Powers-Johnson known that a record 14 offensive players were going to be selected in a row on Day 1 of the NFL Draft, he may have guessed that he would have been taken as well. However, with Day 1 wrapped for the Oregon Ducks center, he had no choice but to reach for the remote before his phone.

However, some had expected the center, who helped Bo Nix's sizzling 2023 performance, to be selected in the first round. On Jackson Powers-Johnson's watch, Nix threw for 45 touchdowns and three interceptions. Without Jackson Powers-Johnson holding at least part of the pocket together, Nix would not have been able to have nearly as much success.

However, the first question is whether an injury history may have loomed larger than fans originally thought for NFL general managers. Put simply, his attendance could not have been the issue, as the last season in which he played in less than 10 games was in 2021.

In 2022 and 2023, he was present for 12 and 13 games, respectively. As such, his health most likely was not the reason. One simple explanation for the center's fall could be the focus on quarterbacks and skill position players for teams.

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Just one other center was taken in the first round, while five more quarterbacks were taken in the first round than in 2023. Additionally, seven receivers and a tight end were taken. That brings the total offensive players taken to 14 players between three position groups.

In other words, general managers appeared to have a taste for the "fun," headline-grabbing additions rather than shoring up their offensive lines, as is often the case.

Jackson Powers-Johnson draft projection: Where could Oregon Center land on Day 2?

Jackson Powers-Johnson at 2024 NFL Combine
Jackson Powers-Johnson at 2024 NFL Combine

That said, with most of the top choices taken at the "fun" positions, offensive line and building the bricks of the roster start falling into place. The center still played a key role in fostering Bo Nix's often-studied season and had no choice but to subject scouts to his tape.

As such, once the last several of the "fun" choices are taken, Powers-Johnson appears set to be taken quickly. Of course, the biggest question is where the center could end up.

The first possible destination could be the Arizona Cardinals at 35th overall. They already slapped an endorsement on Kyler Murray with Marvin Harrison Jr., so they may want to double down on offense by getting Powers-Johnson.

Their current center, Hjalte Froholdt, received a 64.1 PFF grade, and heading into an age 28 season, he may not get much better. With Kyler Murray's ACL tear still likely fresh in the team's mind, it may want to upgrade the position to protect Murray further in addition to handing a boost to the run game.

Of course, once players start to slide, there is no perfect magic 8-ball that can reveal just how far a player will go. However, if he slides out of the second round, it would be a shocking result.

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