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Combine notebook | The one advantage Jackson Powers-Johnson has over the rest of the O-Line prospects

Oregon offensive lineman Jackson Powers-Johnson poses for a portrait during the NFL Scouting Combine, Friday, March 1 in Indianapolis, In. (Todd Rosenberg via AP)
Oregon offensive lineman Jackson Powers-Johnson poses for a portrait during the NFL Scouting Combine, Friday, March 1 in Indianapolis, In. (Todd Rosenberg via AP)

The 2024 scouting combine is reaching its conclusion, and offensive linemen, kickers and special teams players are up next in the pecking order for media availability. As of yesterday, Saturday should be more interesting to Washington fans with the Commanders electing to release Charles Leno Jr., leaving a hole at arguably the most important spot on the offensive line.

So, let's get into it and see what some of the top players at the position had to say during their press conferences.

-- Penn State's Olu Fashanu and Notre Dame's Joe Alt are considered the best linemen available. Technically, Washington could take one of those players, but we're going to focus on the rest of the class for now. We'll start with Tyler Guyton, who is quickly rising up draft boards, despite being technically raw in some areas. He makes up for that with rare athleticism for the position, having played tight end and running back earlier in his career. When asked whether he would like to play on the left or right, Guyton said he didn't have a preference.

"It's not that big of a difference," he said. "Just flipping everything you know, plays and technique. That's probably the biggest thing ... I was born with it [athleticism]. I've been working on my hamstrings and my small muscles to help develop my athleticism ... Definitely feel like it helps me in my game. I can do a lot of things that a lot of guys can't."

-- Georgia's Amarius Mims is another player who says he can play on either side of the offensive line, and no matter where a team decides to put him, he has the physical traits to dominate his competition. He measured 6-foot-7 and 340 pounds, towering over most reporters at the combine. Wherever he plays, though, he knows that he must be prepared to switch positions at any point.

"You have to be ready to play both," Mims said. "You never know what might happen. You could play all your snaps at right, and the next thing you know in the league, you could be a left tackle."

-- Arizona's Jordan Morgan is an interesting prospect. Like Guyton, he has some work to do with his technique, but he's an experienced starter with a First Team All-Pac-12 pedigree. Unlike Guyton and Mims, he knows exactly where he wants to play at the NFL level: left tackle.

"I've been training on my speed, my ability with my agility being able to move laterally, vertically and just getting my pass sets in. Also, being in that weight room, being with other dudes who are strong, it's like competition."

-- Let's transition over to guard, because UConn's Christian Hayne is one of the few at the position who deserves to be a first-round pick. After a good week of practice for the Senior Bowl, Hayne is set to raise his draft stock even higher with interviews and solid test results. Hayne said he often plays with a chip on his shoulder and liked to give his best against Power 5 competition because he knew that would attract the most attention from scouts.

"I wanted to show that I'm one of the best," Hayne said. "I want to be the best in everything I do. Playing Power 5 schools showed that I can play that. But also just being able to go out there and be that dude. I don't play a lot of SEC schools. Last year, I played Tennessee and went out there and did my thing. But also showing that I can play anybody at any level."

-- Jackson Powers-Johnson is considered the best center prospect in the draft, but aside from his frame, quick feet and physical punch, he has something else that other prospects don't: a burger named after him. It's called the Big Jacks burger, and you can buy it at Elk Horn Brewery in Eugene, Oregon. It's got barbecue sauce, queso, macaroni and cheese, pulled pork, bacon and two patties on a brioche bun. "It's a big man's delight," Powers-Johnson said, and if you finish it, the meal is free.

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