Steelers are making a mistake with Kendrick Green at training camp

Pittsburgh Steelers center Kendrick Green (53). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers center Kendrick Green (53). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Steelers are changing Kendrick Green’s position as training camp kicks off. Here’s why moving him to guard is going to be a mistake.

When the Steelers selected Kendrick Green in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, I wasn’t pleased. Pittsburgh was in dire need of upgrades across the offensive line, but there were plenty of players who were available that were higher on my draft board — Quinn Meinerz being one of them.

I had studied Green before the draft, but I did a deeper dive into his Illinois film after he was selected by the Steelers. He had impressive mobility and quickness for an interior offensive line and his physicality until the whistle was top-notch.

However, Green was lacking something that can’t be taught: size. This was an issue I knew he was going to struggle with early in his NFL career… and he did.

As a rookie last season, the Steelers had Green playing center. Sadly, he was humiliated far too often due to his lack of power and anchoring ability against much stronger NFL defensive tackles. Still, I have been adamant that Green needs to take his lumps and stick it out at center.

Unfortunately, this is not what Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers had in mind. During both OTAs and mandatory minicamp earlier in the summer, Green was taking reps at guard, so it was no surprise to see him do so again at Steelers training camp.

During his first Steelers camp practice, Green didn’t log a single snap from the center position. Now I feel the need to reiterate that I believe the Steelers are making a mistake.

Why Steelers must keep Green at center

I have no doubt that Kendrick Green has the foot quickness required for the guard position, but he’s lacking in a major way when it comes to size. No matter what you might hear, this matters.

At 6’1 7/8” and 305 pounds with a 77” wingspan, Green is all the way down in the 1st percentile of size when compared to other NFL guards, according to Mockdraftable. There simply haven’t been a lot of success stories of guards that could make it at this size in the modern era.

This is also something totally new for the Steelers. Just look at their last generation of guards alone. David DeCastro was listed at 6’5” and 316 pounds, while Ramon Foster was 6’5” and 328 pounds.

The fact of the matter is that Kendrick Green is going to be smaller than practically every defensive tackle he will line up against playing the guard position. In comparison, centers can be smaller as they typically don’t have on-on-ones with players right in front of them. When compared to centers, Green’s size jumps up significantly. He still only has 5th percentile height, but his weight jumps all the way up to the 60th percentile and his arm length is 33rd percentile.

This is still below-average size — even at the center position — but it’s not nearly as drastic or concerning as it is if plays guard. Sadly, after just a few days of Steelers training camp practice, it appears that the coaching staff has zero regard for these types of analytics. Green appears to be a guard-only — logging no center snaps at all.

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Kendrick Green’s frame is pretty much maxed out. It seems unlikely that he will be able to beat out the much bigger Kevin Dotson for the starting left guard spot. At this point, we are almost just rooting for the former third-round pick to be a competent backup in a pinch.