In Pro Football Focus’ theme of ranking every single position group across the NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers’ third round pick Kendrick Green has already cracked the top 32. In fact, he’s much higher than that. Without playing a single NFL snap, Green is ranked at the #23 spot on the site’s rankings.
In explaining what to expect, author Ben Linsey wrote:
“You like to see the year-to-year improvement he showed after making the switch from defensive tackle to guard in college, raising his grade from 59.0 in his first year as a starter in 2018 to 88.0 this past season. His athleticism and explosiveness should help kickstart Pittsburgh’s run game.”
Green briefly played defensive tackle when he first arrived at Illinois, but was soon moved to the offensive side of the football. His background as a defensive linemen and as a wrestler gives him a unique resume to play center or guard and accelerated his development with the position switch. That’s evident in his yearly PFF college grades, and why the Steelers were so high on him. Green has the athleticism to function if the team intends on running a heavier zone scheme, which they appear to be attempting, with the nastiness as a run and pass blocker the team simply lacked a year ago.
Green’s spot puts him one behind the Jets’ Connor McGovern and one ahead of the Cowboys’ Tyler Biadasz. He was the only Steeler to make the list, though it was unlikely to expect B.J. Finney to be on this list after the disappointing 2020 season he had. Those two will battle for the starting center gig this summer. The sooner Green grabs the job, the better.
The top-rated center is Cardinals’ new pivot Rodney Hudson, acquired from the Las Vegas Raiders earlier in the offseason. In the AFC North, the best man in the middle went to J.C. Tretter, ranked fourth. Baltimore’s Bradley Bozeman came in at #18, while Cincinnati’s Trey Hopkins was one spot ahead at #17. Pittsburgh has the lowest-rated center. Of course, they have the only rookie, and a third-round pick at that, so this isn’t much of a surprise.