Why Kendrick Green won’t make it as a guard for the Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers center Kendrick Green (53). Mandatory Credit: Caitlyn Epes/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers center Kendrick Green (53). Mandatory Credit: Caitlyn Epes/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports /

Kendrick Green is going to be transitioning back to a guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but here’s why the former third-round pick should stay at center. 

Well, that didn’t last long. After just one season of lining up at center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kendrick Green is reportedly making the transition back to offensive guard. With the offseason additions of James Daniels and Mason Cole, Kevin Dotson admitted that there is going to be competition between him and Green at left guard, according to Ray Fittipaldo.

This is something many fans were hoping would happen sooner rather than later. Green, the Steelers third-round draft choice in 2021, was a guard by trade during his time at Illinois. This came after he was recruited as a defensive tackle.

Green admits to feeling more comfortable at guard and claims that this is his natural position. Sadly, I just don’t see this transition working out the way that he envisions. In fact, if the choice were up to me, I would highly recommend that Green stays at center and figures it out.

Green won’t make it at guard for Steelers

Even after the Steelers forked up a three-year, $15 million deal for Mason Cole in free agency, I like Kendrick Green’s chances to stick around as a guard long-term better than switching back to guard. While Kevin Dotson wasn’t a huge investment from the team (just a fourth-round pick), I would expect him to run away with this competition at left guard.

The biggest reason for this is that Kendrick Green lacks the size to be a full-time guard. When compared to NFL guards coming into the NFL, Green is concerningly small. According to Mockdraftable’s database, Green has 1st percentile height, 6th percentile wingspan, and 10th percentile arm length when compared to NFL guards. Even his 22nd percentile weight is well below average.

Only on the rarest of occasions can players get by when they are this undersized. At 6’1 7/8” and 305 pounds with a 77” wingspan, Green would instantly be one of the smallest guards in the NFL upon this transition. Even when compared to centers, Green is still small, but the size at least isn’t as important for that position.

Green’s lack of play strength and inability to anchor against stronger defensive tackles will be even more noticeable when he’s left on an island in pass sets as a guard. If you thought he struggled at center, just wait. It can get worse.

Obviously, it’s far too late to go back in the 2021 draft and select Creed Humphrey in the first or second round or Quinn Meinerz in the third. But now that the Steelers have Green on the roster, they need to do what’s best for the team and leave him at center.

With the additions this offseason, I would be somewhat surprised if Green ever developed into a capable starter — regardless of what positions he lined up at. Certainly, there is room for improvement, but he’s never going to be able to add more length and his frame is basically maxed out.

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I wish Kendrick Green the best in the future, but I think the Steelers are essentially admitting they made a mistake by moving him to guard. I just don’t think he can succeed here. Hopefully, he can at least develop into a serviceable interior backup.