Illinois center/guard Kendrick Green wasn’t the most popular name linked to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But he was the team’s pick. And NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein thinks it was a great pick.
Yesterday, he released an article with his three favorite selections of each round. Green showed up on the list as one of the top three in the third. Here’s what he wrote about the pick.
“The Steelers’ running game has been stuck in the mud for a while now, but Green (along with Najee Harris, of course) could help change that. The former Illini lineman is tremendously quick off the snap, and his move blocking should allow the Steelers to widen out their rushing attack and get defenders off their spots. I would be surprised if he’s not an early starter.”
Zierlein’s brief assessment of Green’s game is spot on. He’s stout and explosive, with a violent punch and ability to control the block if he wins early. In his opinion, Green should beat out B.J. Finney for the starting center gig sooner than later.
It’s clear the Steelers really liked Green. In the second round, they had their choice of any center in the draft sans Landon Dickerson. They could’ve selected Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey or Ohio State’s Josh Myers. By their third round pick, both of those names were off the board, but Pittsburgh still had their choice between Green, Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Quinn Meinerz, or Notre Dame’s Robert Hainsey. They chose Green, perhaps in part because it was a cleaner, easier evaluation, but also because they believe he has the strength and athleticism to thrive in the Steelers’ scheme, one that may run more zone blocking than before.
If Green proves to be the right pick, it’ll go a long way to rebuilding this offensive line. One that’s seen a facelift across the board. Only David DeCastro remains as a holdover from the previous era.
Around the AFC North, only one other selection made the list — Cleveland selecting Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the second round. He fell due to scheme fit and a heart issue that concerned some teams.