4 Steelers rookies with unrealistic expectations in 2021

National offensive lineman James Hudson III of Cincinnati (55) Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
National offensive lineman James Hudson III of Cincinnati (55) Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /
4 of 4
Illinois Fighting Illini offensive lineman Kendrick Green (53) Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /

Kendrick Green

This is one I have really struggled to grasp. Kendrick Green is a fine developmental prospect as a center, but the odds that he comes in and starts from week one seems unlikely. This has little to do with Green as an individual. Sure, he is a little undersized, but he tested as an incredible athlete and had a physical, mauling nature during his time at Illinois. Add in the fact that he was only a junior last season, and the sky is the limit for him.

The problem with him this season is that everyone in Steelers nation has instantly labeled Green as the starter over B.J. Finney. While long-term this should be the case, in the short term it seems likely that Finney gets the nod as he has significantly more experience actually playing center. Compare that to Green, who played the majority of his college snaps at guard, and suddenly the move to center means he needs to learn the position.

Despite similar roles, the offensive line has significant differences between each of the positions. Kevin Dotson commented last year just how different it was to play on a different side of the line despite it still being a guard position. While Green can successfully transition to center, to expect that move to reap instantaneous results is foolish. The move could happen sometime this season, but Finney having played significantly more snaps at center is a huge plus for his odds of starting.

5 hardest Steelers games after NFL 2021 schedule release. light. Must Read

The Steelers had a solid draft class overall, and quite a few players should see significant snaps. That said, outside of Harris, this class doesn’t have a significant day-one contributor seemingly on the roster. While long-term this class should yield quite a few starters, some of the expectations for this season seem unrealistic.