With his play not improving, one has to wonder if the Steelers may decide to part ways with Green after cutdowns.
I am not here to beat a dead horse with Kendrick Green. The former third-round pick had a horrible rookie season as he tried to become the Steelers next great center. While many were optimistic about him returning to his natural guard position, early signs haven’t looked promising as he has continued to struggle in camp and during the preseason.
The bust label has already been thrown at Green, as his best-case scenario this season was to be the top reserve interior lineman. Now that may not even be the case anymore, as his play looks just as bad, if not worse than it did last season. At this point, the team has to be considering moving on from Green entirely.
The Steelers have done this before
A third-round pick is a relatively valuable one in the draft. While most teams allow these picks a season or two to develop, they envision these players becoming starters at some point. That’s why most third-round picks usually make it a few seasons before being cut. The Steelers have moved on from former third-round picks in their second season before though.
Bruce Davis was hyped as the next great Steelers linebacker when the team landed him in the 2008 draft. Like most of that class though, he didn’t pan out. After playing very sparingly in his rookie season, he was waived in year two. His career fizzled out shortly thereafter.
Even more akin to Green is Kraig Urbik. Taken in the third round of the following class, he was beaten out in camp by undrafted rookie Ramon Foster. He didn’t take a single snap his rookie season and was cut the following year. While he did go on to have a successful NFL career, none of that occurred in Pittsburgh.
Could the Steelers be in a similar spot?
While the team doesn’t have a Foster-caliber of player competing against Green, they do have a versatile veteran in John Leglue who has looked good in camp. Can the Steelers justify keeping Green over him solely due to his draft slot? Cuts are right around the corner as well. There could be a far better veteran option that becomes available for this team instead of Green.
The issue with Green wasn’t his move to center. It was his lack of size, and more specifically not having the technique to overcome his lack of size. That hasn’t improved yet, and it could impact the Steelers this season if they lost a player to injury. Cutting bait with a third-round pick that early is never ideal, but the team has to do what’s best for the roster.
Ultimately, I think Green makes the final roster. That said, I’m far less certain of that than when the season first began. Green didn’t make the needed improvements to his game, and despite “competing” for a starting guard spot, everyone agrees he is the weaker of the two players. If his poor preseason continues, Green could be gone sooner than later.