The Bears look to bolster the center position by taking Sedrick Van Pran
I am sure that many of you would prefer the Chicago Bears to select Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson. I'll admit, both were available at pick No. 46 and I had a hard time deciding between the two. Actually, I also had Zach Frazier from West Virginia in mind as all three of these centers are in the same tier of my center rankings.
Some of you might also be concerned with the idea of having a rookie quarterback paired with a rookie center. That could be a problem early on when it comes to identifying pre-snap blitzes and coverages while calling out protections. I'd like to see Chicago add a veteran center to the mix also, but the free-agent market at the position is bleak. Connor Williams (Dolphins) would be the best option if he hits free agency, but he tore his ACL in Week 14. Lloyd Cushenberry (Broncos) would be my next choice followed by Andre James (Raiders) — will either become a free agent though?
When looking at the three center prospects previously mentioned, If you like big guys up front, Jackson Powers-Johnson is the guy for you. He is 6'3" and 320 pounds. He's very athletic and shows a high football IQ. His rushing attack is superb and easily the best out of the three centers being considered. However, his pass-blocking skills are my biggest concern. Oregon runs a very quick passing attack with Bo Nix who excels at throwing quick, one-read throws (think Tyson Bagent). Powers-Johnson's pass-blocking just does not jump off the tape to me and that's a concern.
Sedrick Van Pran isn't as successful in the run game as Powers-Johnson, but he is by far the better pass-blocker. As the starting center of the Georgia Bulldogs for the last three years, he has only allowed one sack and averages 10 hurries per year. Also, he's a true center. Powers-Johnson played guard before the 2023 season. Although snapping the ball didn't seem like an issue for Powers-Johnson (something we cannot continue to have in Chicago), I like the idea of drafting a pure center.
I'll admit, I'm intrigued to see Powers-Johnson in the Senior Bowl to see how well he can hold up as a pass blocker when the playbook dictates five and seven-step drops. No matter what, Ryan Poles must, and I mean must, upgrade the center position.