Why the Slide?: Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

This series was created a number of years ago in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

At the beginning of the year and throughout the spring months leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft, Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson was a consensus first-round pick. Powers-Johnson had a superb 2023 season and followed it up by impressing at Senior Bowl practice before leaving with injury. Sources from around the league really liked the tape that Powers-Johnson produced, and many thought he would probably get selected in the 20s. Thus, it was surprise when Powers-Johnson slid well into the second round.

In speaking to team sources, there were two reasons why Powers-Johnson slid. One, some teams had some medical concerns with him. Additionally, many teams are resistant to taking a guard or center in the first round, and that caused some teams to project Powers-Johnson to the second round. The medical concerns combined with the position value to push Powers-Johnson out of the opening night of the 2024 NFL Draft.

The Las Vegas Raiders ended Powers-Johnson slide, and that was a good landing spot for him. Before long, Powers-Johnson should slide into the starting right guard position for the Raiders. If Powers-Johnson has some struggles in the preseason, he might start out as a backup. Las Vegas has veteran offensive linemen Andrus Peat and Cody Whitehair as options to start at guard. Before long, Powers-Johnson should take over as a starter, and he looks capable of being a Pro Bowl guard or center in the NFL.


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