As the Pittsburgh Steelers always say, “Once a center, not always a center!”
Well, that may not be the exact saying. It is, however, what we’re seeing play out in training camp so far for offensive lineman Kendrick Green. After playing his entire rookie season in 2021 at center, the Steelers' former third-round pick headed back to the bench in favor of former Cardinals and Vikings center Mason Cole.
Though it was a solid move for the Steelers, as Cole ranked 12th among NFL centers with an overall grade of 67.1 in the 2022 season, the question still remained — is that the end of Kendrick Green?
Maybe not, as the team’s been giving Green reps at fullback in training camp... and he’s been looking... good?
As the Steelers continue to make tweaks on the offensive line, including the integration of 2023 first-round pick, Broderick Jones, in at left tackle, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Green’s path to making the final 53-man roster will be if he’s able to contribute elsewhere.
I would bet my life this happens in the red zone at least one time this season pic.twitter.com/0i6jbrIjWq— Jarrett Bailey (@JBaileyNFL) August 6, 2023
Kendrick Green taking some post-practice passes from the Juggs machine. pic.twitter.com/7Um8QyOk0W— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) August 6, 2023
23-year-old fullback Monte “The Mullet” Pottebaum, an undrafted free agent out of the 2023 NFL Draft class signed earlier this spring, was the only true fullback on the Steelers’ 90-man roster in training camp. He abruptly announced his retirement at the end of July, meaning there is potential to make an impact, even if on the limited occasions Pittsburgh deploys a fullback within their formation.
Given the infrequency of which the team uses a fullback and their need for depth on the offensive line, Green’s ability to contribute in multiple spots could save his spot on the final roster. However, it feels likely that the former third-round selection is running out of time, seemingly toeing the line on the team’s roster bubble ahead of the 2023 season.
The Steelers released their first unofficial depth chart Sunday, and Green has yet to bump second-year TE/FB Connor Heyward for the job. Instead, unsurprisingly, he was listed as the backup center.
Call your shot — will Kendrick Green play more snaps as a backup OL or at fullback in the 2023 season? Join the Behind the Steel Curtain community and let us know your thoughts in the comments!