Kendrick Green had an embarrassingly bad rookie season. Was the rookie center the biggest liability on the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021?
I’m getting very concerned about Pittsburgh’s ability to evaluate NFL talent. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Over the better part of a decade, Kevin Colbert and the Steelers front office have swung and missed on early picks with players like Jarvis Jones, Artie Burns, Sammie Coates, Dri Archer, and Senquez Golson. They’ve also drafted unspectacular players in the first round like Terrell Edmunds and Devin Bush.
Sadly, their stretch of unspectacular picks seems to be continuing on through the 2021 draft. While Pat Freiermuth and Najee Harris will likely turn out to be pretty good football players in this league, Pittsburgh’s third-round pick, Kendrick Green, is looking like a bust.
After being talked up by the coaching staff and front office upon the selection, Green has been a colossal letdown. The rookie center was asked to replace the recently retired Maurkice Pouncey as Pittsburgh’s starting center, but he fell grossly short of expectations.
Though Green showcased excellent foot quickness on the move and getting to the second level, he often whiffed on blocks and his technique was incredibly sloppy. However, Green’s biggest weakness is that he gets engulfed by stronger defensive linemen and lacks core strength. Because of this, he gets easily discarded when run blocking and simply cannot anchor in pass protection.
Was Green the worst starter on the Steelers in 2021?
For some, this isn’t even a question. It was hard to note anything positive that Kendrick Green did on the football field and he often allowed rushers to come in free past him. However, there were a lot of bad starters on this team this year. Fellow rookie offensive lineman, Dan Moore, was one of them.
In fact, Pittsburgh’s offensive line was pretty terrible across the board this year, and their off-ball linebacking corps might be one of the worst in the league. Additionally, Ben Roethlisberger did not have a good season, and the offense was quite limited due to his immobility and unwillingness to throw the ball down the field.
Still, it’s hard to argue that — with respect to their position — any starter was worse than Green was for the Steelers in 2021. According to Pro Football Focus, the Steelers rookie has graded out as the 33rd best player at the center position. Considering there are only 32 starting centers in the NFL, this is not where the team wanted to see him.
Additionally, it’s becoming increasingly clear how detrimental Green is when he’s starting at center for the Steelers. Though active in Week 17, the team rolled with the healthier J.C. Hassenaur, and the results were much more favorable as Najee Harris was able to rush for 188 yards on 6.7 yards per carry.
Sadly, we haven’t been given much reason to hope that things could improve with Green. While I had numerous questions about the prospect coming out of Illinois this year due to his small frame and lack of anchoring power on film, the Steelers found reason enough to take him in the third round over Quinn Meinerz — who has had an impressive rookie season for the Denver Broncos.
The Steelers are getting hard to trust with their talent evaluation, and Kendrick Green is just one of the latest examples. For my money, he was the worst starter on the team this year, and one of the biggest liabilities they currently have.