Former third-round draft pick Kendrick Green did not dress for a single game last season, just a year removed from being drafted, and from being the team’s starting center. The Pittsburgh Steelers signed two interior starters in free agency after his rookie season, and he was given the opportunity to compete at left guard, losing to Kevin Dotson.
Not a natural center and having spent the entire offseason working at guard, Green was also passed over for all gameday reserve positions. J.C. Hassenauer served as the primary backup center. We’re not even sure who was the backup guard, since neither starting guard missed a snap.
With the Steelers signing two more interior offensive linemen in free agency this offseason, it’s been taken as a foregone conclusion that Green’s days are numbered. But what if there were something that could be done to give him a second life? Former Steelers linebacker Vince Williams, now a coach, has an idea.
Responding to a Twitter comment ripping Green and asking for an explanation for why he was still on the roster, Williams advised, “Put him at fullback”. And he wasn’t kidding. The next day he doubled down on the idea. “I honestly do think Kendrick [G]reen would be a ridiculously good fullback”, he said. “A bigger Rosie Nix”.
That would be Roosevelt Nix, who was the Steelers’ fullback from 2015 to 2019. At 5’11 and 248 pounds, he was a load. Pittsburgh hasn’t regularly used a fullback in quite a while, but Nix was getting about 15 percent of the snaps or so, hitting the century mark annually, and he played a big role in some key games. And he was a special-teams demon on top of that.
As for Green, who is listed at 6’4, 315 pounds, he is tall for a fullback but he has the frame to slim down, and he has enough athleticism to play the position. Working in space would not only help to accentuate his strengths but minimize his biggest weaknesses, not to mention the fact that it takes him off of some of the larger bodies he faced in the heart of the trenches.
And he probably plays at a lower weight, as it is, perhaps around 300. If the Steelers got in his ear right now and said if you want to try to make this team then you ought to try to win the fullback job, he might buy in and drop the weight.
After all, the Steelers did not re-sign Derek Watt, who had been their fullback for the past three years. There has been talk of Connor Heyward moving there, and they signed a college free agent, Monte Pottebaum, at the position, but neither of those are surefire answers. And it’s not as though the notion is unheard of:
Asking Green to drop some and line up in the backfield isn’t going to stamp his ticket in and of itself, but it would at least give him a chance. The Steelers, and Green, have nothing to lose by entertaining the move. The worst-case scenario is that they release him at the end of the preseason, which is what everybody expects them to do, anyway. As with the original commenter Williams responded to, indeed, many even wonder why he’s still here.
Is Green going to make the team, even if he were to be moved? Probably not. It’s a longshot, desperation move. But there is sense in it, and there’s nothing to lose. Might as well give him a fighting chance, because, barring injury, virtually nobody sees there being room left for him along the offensive line.
Oh, did I mention that the Steelers just drafted two more offensive linemen as well? It’s crowded there, friends.