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Is Jackson Powers-Johnson Lions' OL of Future?

Could Lions add offensive line depth early in the Draft?

The Detroit Lions could have plenty of change coming to their offensive line in 2024. 

When the group was at full health in 2023, the Lions were borderline unstoppable offensively. The group had two players, Penei Sewell and Frank Ragnow, earn All-Pro honors for their performances. 

However, both starting guards are set to be free agents heading into the offseason. As a result, the Lions will have to be cautious about whether or not they will bring back both Jonah Jackson and Graham Glasgow. 

Should the organization decide to explore the Draft for potential interior line replacements, Oregon's Jackson Powers-Johnson is a rising prospect who is coming off a strong week at the Senior Bowl

He was dominant during his week in Mobile while playing for the National Team, splitting time between center and guard. Owning his reps at both positions allowed him to stand out in the eyes of scouts, according to Ducks Digest.

"Powers-Johnson was expected to do well in his reps at center, so his exceptional reps at guard really made him look good as teams wanting to draft him will not only get a center but an interior linemen that can play guard on both sides of the line," wrote Israel La Rue. "He won all of reps at center and guard showcasing his pass blocking abilities, agility, strength and nimble feet among other traits."

The Rimington Award winner is considered the top center and one of the best overall interior offensive line prospects in this year's Draft

Powers-Johnson played center at Oregon and earned high Pro Football Focus marks in both pass- and run-blocking metrics. For his efforts in 2023, he earned a 90.3 pass-blocking grade and an 85.6 run-blocking mark. 

The Lions are in a good spot at the center position, with Ragnow overcoming a multitude of injuries to produce at a high level in 2023. He has publicly committed to returning next season, and will use the offseason to recover. 

As a result, the center position is not one of pivotal need. However, Powers-Johnson appears to have the athleticism to slide over to a guard position. In college, he made one start at right guard. 

Detroit's success has been built around its offensive line, so it would be wise for the team to continuing investing in young players for depth purposes. 

However, Powers-Johnson is projected to be a first-round pick. Drafting a lineman over other areas of need that early in the Draft will likely depend on whether or not the Lions retain Jackson, Glasgow or both. 

Since Brad Holmes took over as general manager, the Lions have been committed to adding players based on fit rather than need. As a result, it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for the organization to select a lineman despite it not being their top area of need. 

Holmes has emphasized his desire to add the top players on his board as opposed to selecting a player at the team's biggest area of need since taking the reins. 

With this in mind, it's not off the table for the Lions to draft Powers-Johnson purely for competition purpose. The likelihood increases if Detroit does not bring back one of its starting guards. 

Because Powers-Johnson has shown an ability to play the guard position, as well as provide depth at center, he would be an intriguing addition to Detroit's acclaimed offensive line.