Senior Bowl standout could force Packers to change draft approach

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Green Bay Packers / Sarah Kloepping/USA TODAY

Few teams draft offensive linemen as well as the Green Bay Packers. The incredible part is how often the Packers find starting linemen on the final day of the draft.

Three of their five starters this season—Rasheed Walker, Jon Runyan, and Zach Tom—were Day 3 picks. We can even include David Bakhtiari, who was a fourth-round choice in 2013.

They've been doing it for years. Brian Gutekunst has continued a tradition set by Ted Thompson. Corey Linsley, T.J. Lang, and Josh Sitton became Pro Bowlers and All-Pros. Green Bay drafted them in the fourth and fifth rounds.

However, this doesn't mean Green Bay should never consider drafting linemen earlier. One prospect may make them reconsider their approach this year.

Jackson Powers-Johnson deserves Packers' attention in early rounds

The Packers don't desperately need an upgrade at center. Josh Myers overcame early-season inconsistency to play well down the stretch. However, Green Bay should still strengthen at the position if an opportunity presents itself.

Green Bay's line played at a high level for much of the season, but with an additional piece or two, they can dominate in 2024.

One name to watch is Oregon's Jackson Powers-Johnson. As his name suggests, he is a powerful player and should be on the Packers' radar.

Powers-Johnson has dominated in the early Senior Bowl practices this week, which could dramatically increase his draft stock.

"Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson was a bully in the run game, using his 334 pounds to flatten defenders both at the line of scrimmage and in space," ESPN's Matt Miller wrote during Tuesday's practice.

The Packers love to draft players who shine at the Senior Bowl. It's a great way to evaluate draft prospects against the best players at other positions. Powers-Johnson has made an outstanding start, and you can bet Brian Gutekunst is fully aware.

While Myers played well down the stretch, Powers-Johnson could give the Packers an upgrade at the position. And the best part is he offers positional versatility. His preferred position in the NFL will likely be center, but he could also play at either guard spot.

The Packers tend to wait until Day 3 to draft offensive linemen, and their formula works. But if Powers-Johnson is on the board when Green Bay hits the clock early in the draft, they should seriously consider making him an exception to the rule.

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