With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we have turned our attention to the offseason. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: C/G Kendrick Green
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: The recent additions of Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig to the interior offensive line all but seal 2021 third-round draft pick Kendrick Green’s fate. After spending the 2022 season as a healthy scratch for 17 games, he is unlikely to make the 53-man roster, barring injury.
Kendrick Green started 15 games in 2021. He played in zero in 2022. He may not have a job in 2023. Not the typical career arc for a third-round pick, but in the Steelers’ case, it’s better to accept reality than try to make something work that does not.
Pittsburgh identified Green as a fit for their profile of an athletic center even though his experience at center was limited coming out of college. He struggled with that transition while starting as a rookie and failed to win even the backup guard job in 2022.
The Steelers thought so little of Green’s performance at center as a rookie that they signed two free agents in 2022 who not only started, but who were both more capable of playing center than he was. Mason Cole ended up starting at center as Green competed with Kevin Dotson at left guard. He lost, of course.
Now Pittsburgh added two more interior offensive linemen in Isaac Seumalo a plug-and-play starter, along with Nate Herbig. Either Herbig (more likely) or Cole is going to be bumped into a backup role, along with potentially Dotson if he makes the roster.
The only real hope that Green has of keeping his roster spot is if the Steelers actually feel he is capable of being the backup center, because they don’t currently have a reserve lineman who is a natural center. This, however, seems unlikely, considering they allowed J.C. Hassenauer to be the backup ahead of him last year.
But one should never completely write somebody off before it is necessary. Given that there is no harm that can come from carrying him into training camp, we should expect to see him in Latrobe. If he does make the 53-man roster, it will be because he showed significant improvement in his game and earned his way there.
That would be a welcome ‘problem’ to have. And if that doesn’t come to pass, then Green simply gets waived and we all move on. Maybe he re-signs to the practice squad.