While it’s certainly not unique, the Pittsburgh Steelers do have a history of drafting teammates. Just in recent years, they took Cameron Sutton and Joshua Dobbs out of Tennessee in 2017, then James Washington and Mason Rudolph out of Oklahoma State a year later, and Devin Bush and Zach Gentry a year after that, followed by Anthony McFarland and Antoine Brooks from Maryland last draft.
This year, they did it yet again, all in the fourth round, with the addition of tackle Dan Moore, Jr., followed by inside linebacker Buddy Johnson, both out of Texas A&M. But Johnson isn’t the only buddy Moore enters his next chapter in Pittsburgh with. He’s also familiar with the Steelers’ third round pick, another offensive lineman.
“Kendrick Green, man, that’s my guy,” he told reporters just a short time ago during his introductory conference call with the media. “I literally texted him right before the pick went up, ‘Hey, we’re about to be teammates, dude.’ I’m waiting to talk to him in a minute. We trained together.”
Green comes to Pittsburgh by way of Illinois, where he played both guard and center. He lacks in size to a certain degree, but largely makes up for it with superior athleticism and a nasty demeanor. He is also the first interior offensive lineman drafted by the end of Day 2 by the Steelers since David DeCastro in 2012.
The two offensive line selections within the first four rounds — or any round — is also a first for Pittsburgh since nearly a decade ago that year, when they also drafted Mike Adams in Round 2.
The Steelers have not significantly invested in the offensive line in the draft since then beyond sporadic additions. They didn’t draft any linemen some years, like 2013. Wesley Johnson was a fifth round pick in 2014, followed by Jerald Hawkins in the fourth round in 2016 and Chukwuma Okorafor in the third round in 2018. Derwin Gray in Round 7 a year later and finally Kevin Dotson in the fourth round last year brings us to the present day.
Green and Moore will provide needed depth to an offensive line in the midst of transition. Offensive line coach Adrian Klemm is also not ruling out the possibility of their competing for starting roles early on.
Green would work at center, where the retirement of Maurkice Pouncey has left that spot vacated. Moore could step in at left tackle, where he’s played most of his college career, with Alejandro Villanueva still a free agent. He would compete with Okorafor and free agent addition Joe Haeg.
And it never hurts to have a buddy when you come into the league, someone you can bounce ideas off of who is going through the same things. That might be even more important in a virtual setting, like this offseason largely figures to be.