With their pick in the third round (87) the Steelers once again fill another need, adding interior offensive lineman Kendrick Green. He was announced as a center, and that is where the need is on the offensive line.
He is a versatile player with experience along the offensive line and explosive with good agility and athleticism. Green looks to be a player that will be able to pull on outside runs, something the Steelers have liked to do in the past. He had 33 starts in his career at guard and center after switching from the defensive side of the ball and adding 30 pounds.
Here is where he was ranked by some draft outlets.
The NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah had him listed as his #105 player on his top 150.
Pro Football Focus had him listed at 113 on their top 300 board.
Kyle Crabbs at The Draft Network shared his thoughts saying, “Illinois interior offensive lineman Kendrick Green projects favorably as a Day 3 target in the 2021 NFL Draft. Green, who came to the Illini program as a defensive tackle and transitioned to the offense ahead of the 2017 college season, finished his career with 33 consecutive starts at either guard or center for Illinois. Green has the lateral mobility and functional athleticism to develop and continue to work with at the pro level — his potential as a recent position swap should not be ignored. That said, Green is understandably rough around the edges with the finer points of strike placement, feel for scraping defenders, angles when climbing to the second level, and his footwork and base; there are too many reps in which Green finds himself on the ground. But viewing him through the scope of a player who is still new to the position, the flashes of leverage at the point of attack and mobility, particularly at center, make him a worthwhile flier later in the draft.” He was ranked #120 in their rankings.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com gave him a grade of 6.21 (good backup who could become starter), and had a third round projection on him and summarized him by saying, “Durable three-year starter with above-average initial quickness. Capable of playing guard or center, Green’s lateral get-off makes him a natural fit for teams heavy into outside zone as a primary run scheme. He can get to play-side reach and back-side cuts and he specializes in washing his defender out of the play once he’s engaged on the move. He plays a little too upright at times and lacks the length and drive power in his lower half to move one-on-one blocks around with adequate sustain. The run blocking will stand out to evaluators, but recognition inconsistencies in pass protection might cause some concerns. His center/guard flexibility is an advantage and teams could go either way with how they want to use him. Green has the potential to become a starter at the next level.”
Jonathan Heitritter did our report and had this to say, “Overall, Green definitely needs some refinement to his game in terms of his angles to his blocks, staying engaged on blocks and also continually getting functionally stronger to have a better base and balance control. However, his movement skills and rawness on the offensive side of the ball give good reason to suggest that he is still improving.” He compared him to David Andrews of the New England Patriots and had him as an early Day 3 pick.
Overall, based on the grades of the evaluators listed above, this pick has a low value grade. It would seem he could have been had on Day 3, and there is some question about him becoming a starter. Fan favorite Quinn Meinerz was still on the board, along with Pittsburgh native Robert Hainsey. Both could have been the choice, and each went a few picks later.