In one of the larger draft classes the Pittsburgh Steelers have had under general manager Kevin Colbert, the players drafted have not only come along quickly into key roles, they’ve developed into close friends and teammates, setting a new, young foundation in the locker room ahead of the 2021 season.
As young players, it helps to have other young guys you can go to and lean on when the going gets tough, and that’s exactly what’s happened with members of the 2021 draft class, according to third-round pick and starting center Kendrick Green.
Green, speaking to the media Wednesday, described just how close knit the 2021 draft class is in Pittsburgh just days ahead of the group’s true NFL debuts on Sunday at Highmark Stadium in Buffalo against the vaunted Bills.
“Yeah, like you said, we kind of lean on each other, try and keep each other’s spirits up every day,” Green said to reporters Wednesday. “I feel like as a rookie class, we’re pretty close, especially on offense. I’m super close with Najee [Harris], super close with Pat [Freiermuth], and Dan [Moore Jr.]. We’re all pretty tight together. I’d say, yeah, we definitely lean on each other for support, and I think we’re doing great. Personally, I think we’ll be fine.”
It’s great to hear that the four rookies on offense are tight-knit, considering they’ll be sharing the field early and often in 2021 with the rebuilt Steelers’ offense in general. It’s not often four rookies in the same draft class step into starting roles so quickly on contending teams, but that’s just what Najee Harris, Green, Dan Moore Jr. and Pat Freiermuth will do on Sunday, not to mention punter Pressley Harvin III, linebacker Buddy Johnson, and defensive back Tre Norwood doing that on special teams on the road to open the season.
The 2021 draft class is pretty remarkable already, considering the work they’ve done so quickly this summer through training camp and preseason to earn real roles right away, rather than being relegated to the bench or the practice squad to continue to develop.
We’ll see just how tight-knit the group is on Sunday when the going gets tough and the games become real. So far though, they’ve appeared to be supportive of each other and in lockstep as a group, which bodes well for the future of the Steelers at key positions on offense and on special teams.