Good news, Steelers Nation. After being subjected to a mind numbing amount of mock drafts and plenty of unsubstantiated speculation during what seemed like an inordinately long pre-draft process, minus the Scouting Combine to break up the monotony, the 2021 NFL Draft is finally upon us. I have been given the distinguished task of trying to apply a letter grade to each Steelers selection.
There are specific criteria necessary when attempting to accurately and fairly grade any draft pick. Only time will reveal the validity of any grade given, but I will utilize certain parameters as I attempt to apply an initial grade for each Steelers draft pick. I base each grade on projected roster fit, potential immediate impact, and assumed draft value. Draft value is achieved by evaluating each players actual selection against their projected draft position, whether that be player rankings or projected round.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Illinois C Kendrick Green with the 87th selection of the 2021 NFL Draft. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when this selection was announced. I was quite distraught when the Steelers passed over the opportunity to select my highest rated center prospect Creed Humphrey in the second round, instead choosing to select Pat Freiermuth. I shouldn't have been shocked actually, based on my own rationale that I used to justify the Steelers first round selection of Najee Harris. This year's center class is much deeper than the tight end class, therefore the Steelers hierarchy decided that strengthening the tight end position took precedent over the center position. While I was in pure panic mode, the Steelers were as cool as the underside of the pillow. I have a sneaky feeling that Kevin Colbert and the Steelers coaching staff are extremely pleased with how the draft has gone thus far. Three picks that immediately address three huge areas of need.
Based on the aforementioned parameters stated earlier in this article, I have to give the Steelers third round selection of Kendrick Green a initial draft grade of A, which I admittedly upgraded after doing a more in depth search on this most impressive young man.
Kendrick Green stands 6'2" and weighs 305 lbs. He has starting experience at both guard and center for the Fighting Illini, where he played for former NFL HC Lovie Smith. I have to believe that the Steelers gained some valuable inside information from Coach Smith. Green has superior athleticism, mobility, and explosion for the position. His 9.23 RAS score was one of the highest at the position, with his height and weight bringing his score down ever so slightly. His 4.89 forty and 35.5" vertical confirm his explosiveness. A former high school defensive tackle who plays with a natural aggression and edge. Excellent core strength and leverage gained as a state finalist wrestler.
Although Green brings a nice blend of power and athleticism, he will struggle at times with larger interior defenders due to his shorter stature and arms, particularly when he has to absorb the contact. He gains consistent leverage and surge when he is able to utilize his natural explosion off the snap. His smooth first step and quickness allows him to pull effectively and reach his second level blocks with ease. He has excellent hand usage with a powerful punch, more traits gained from his wrestling background.
Former Steeler and radio personality Arthur Moats watched film on Green and said he reminds him of Maurkice Pouncey. That is high praise indeed, and I am actually inclined to agree with him on that comparison. Not saying he will ever reach that level, but their athleticism and demeanor are similar. Steelers Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm said after Green's selection that he was a special kid and he was hoping that the Steelers could pick him. He said Green has a alpha personality with a nasty demeanor. He also mentioned Green's leadership qualities. Sounds like a great fit for the Steelers new physically aggressive philosophy along the offensive line.
It remains to be seen if and when Green will be ready to assume the position of starting center for the Steelers; but based on his impressive talent and the undeniable fact that he only has depth level talent standing in his way, I fully expect his inevitable ascension to be sooner rather than later. Coach Klemm already sounds on board with that assessment.
Now we want to hear from the BTSC community and from Steelers Nation. What do you think about the selection and what initial grade would you give it. Please place your vote in the attached poll and share your reasoning in the comment section below.
I am truly excited to welcome Kendrick Green to the Steelers family on behalf of the BTSC community and Steelers Nation!
What initial draft grade would you give this Steelers selection?
This poll is closed
A = Excellent selection
B = Above average selection
C = Solid selection
D = Below average selection
F = Terrible selection