Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the season and into the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: iOL Kendrick Green
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: With the Steelers signing two interior offensive linemen via free agency, second-year lineman Kendrick Green could be bumped down into a backup role after starting 15 games in 2021.
Drafted in the third round in 2021 out of Illinois after spending the majority of his career playing guard, the Steelers moved Green to center and hoped that he would take over the position for the next decade the way that Maurkice Pouncey did before him.
It didn’t quite work out the same way, or at least did not get off to the same start. Pouncey earned All-Pro honors at the end of his rookie season and helped the team advance to the Super Bowl. Green was one of the worst starting interior linemen in the league last year.
And now he has extreme competition. While Trai Turner was replaced by James Daniels in free agency, the Steelers also signed Mason Cole, who has ample starting experience and a preference for the center position. He should be considered the favorite to start at this point, in my opinion.
There is the possibility of Green moving to guard and starting there, of course, but he also has to contend with Kevin Dotson there, and potentially J.C. Hassenauer and John Leglue, as well. All in all, it is shaping up for Green to potentially be demoted to a backup role.
Of course, he has control over his destiny. If he plays well throughout the offseason, he can win a starting job, whether at guard or at center. The Steelers will endeavor to put their best offensive line on the field, and if he can show that he is one of their five best, I expect that he’ll be out there.
But it would take a pretty significant year-to-year improvement in order for him to earn a starting spot, and that’s without consideration for the possibility that the Steelers will draft another lineman later this month to add to that mix.