While most fans may have already written him off as sunk cost, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still trudging ahead with Kendrick Green, their third-round draft pick whom they started at center for most of the position—out of position, really, considering that he spent all but four games in college at guard.
Though the Steelers signed two new starters for the interior offensive line via free agency, including center Mason Cole, Green is still competing for a starting job with Kevin Dotson at left guard, the latter coming off a year in which he missed the second half of the season due to injury.
Especially in hindsight, it’s clear that Green was in over his head last year, not just for being asked to play center, where he was significantly less comfortable, but also just being asked to have a full-time starting role immediately. Former Steelers offensive lineman Max Starks believes there is better yet to come from him.
“You still have Kendrick Green. I think Kendrick Green could still definitely figure into this offense”, he recently told Lance Medow on the Movin’ the Chains show on SiriusXM Radio in discussing the Steelers’ offseason, explaining why he doesn’t believe the signings of James Daniels and Cole were the biggest move the team made this offseason.
“I would love to see him at guard because I think his tenacity and his skill and technique is best suited for the guard position”, he went on. “It was tough, kind of out of water, trying to get him into center shape with Ben Roethlisberger, but I think as an interior guy, Kendrick Green can still be very effective”.
Now, there were a lot of people who weren’t happy with the Steelers drafting Green even before they heard that he would be playing center, and not guard. He is undersized, and we saw him spend a good amount of time on his back looking up at the sky even when he was still playing in college—at guard. How is that going to change in the NFL?
Well, players do continue to grow when they get up to the professional level. Can offensive line coach Pat Meyer get more out of him, at a position in which he’s more comfortable, than the Steelers did last year? Has he caught up with the mental aspects of the game enough where things have slowed down?