It’s no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers are known for employing high-level centers throughout the franchise’s long, illustrious history.
The 2021 season might be a tough one to watch at the center position though, especially after the retirement of future Hall of Fame center Maurkice Pouncey following the Wild Card loss to the Cleveland Browns, a game which started off with a high snap from Pouncey resulting in a touchdown for the Browns just seconds into the primetime showdown.
With Pouncey riding off into the sunset, many expected the Steelers to quickly address center in the 2021 NFL Draft with the likes of Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey, Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Quinn Meinerz, and Alabama’s Landon Dickerson being the hot names connected to the Steelers.
Instead, Pittsburgh went off the board just a bit, grabbing Illinois standout Kendrick Green in the third round. Though Green is on the smaller side, he brings a nasty demeanor to the position along with some impressive athleticism, which fits what Pouncey was known for early in his career. Despite the addition of Green, the center position remains rather weak for the Steelers overall with veteran B.J. Finney back in the fold, and third-year pro J.C. Hassenauer back for another go-round with the black and gold.
All three will be locked in a tough battle for the starting job at the pivot in training camp, which was tabbed as one of nine key position battles across the league to watch in training camp by Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski.
Green has the inside track to start, considering the investment the Steelers have already made in him. Add in the fact that he fits what the Steelers want to do in the run game and it would be wise to let him see action right away. There’s certainly some projecting there though with Green, which new offensive line coach Adrian Klemm is comfortable with.
“The Steelers hope to get the most out of Roethlisberger during the tail end of the quarterback’s career. In order to do so, the center’s performance will be crucial for the offense to get and stay on track,” Sobleski writes.
As we stand today, something must have gone wrong with Green in training camp — whether it be injury or poor performance — if one of Finney or Hassenauer is the starting center in front of Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1. All eyes remain on the Steelers’ revamped offensive line ahead of the 2021 season.