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Raiders Round 2 OL Jackson Powers-Johnson: Wrestling ‘huge’ for development as football player

As a former wrestler myself, I often preach to others the benefits to my time on the mat. The skills translate well to pretty much any sport as well. Raiders newest offensive lineman understands these benefits.

They selected Oregon guard/center Jackson Powers-Johnson with the 44th overall pick in the second round Friday. Shortly after the pick, I had the chance to ask the 6-3, 328-pound mauler about his wrestling background and how it helped him as a football player.

“Wrestling was a huge part of my life,” said Powers-Johnson. “Definitely translating in leverage and physically and also straight mental toughness. Wrestling is the hardest sport. So, me doing that to prepare for football and really getting that mentality from wrestling, it’s really huge for me. I always tell young kids or football players coming up through little league that they should wrestle. It was huge in my life.”

There is no question when you watch Powers-Johnson that he takes the skills he learned on a wrestling mat and brings them to the gridiron.

In his draft guide “The Beast”, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler describes Powers-Johnson’s best attributes “plays with a firm base and fierce hands . . . with the natural movement skills and stability at contact to torque and fend off defenders.”

Those are absolutely skills that become second nature as a wrestler. And he used those skills to become a unanimous All American and Rimington Award winner as the nation’s top center last season for Oregon.

Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire