Like so many teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers have tough decisions to make at several positions before the final roster cutdown day on August 29. That could result in a recent high draft pick getting released in Pittsburgh.
The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly predicted the Steelers to keep nine offensive linemen on their 53-man roster. But backup interior lineman and experimental full back Kendrick Green was not one of them.
“The Kendrick Green experiment will end, as he got a ton of reps against the Falcons at guard and center,” wrote Kaboly.
ESPN’s Brooke Pryor agreed with Kaboly’s projection. She also did not include Green in her Steelers’ 53-man roster prediction.
“The Kendrick Green fullback experience was a fun training camp experiment, but the Steelers barely used it in actual preseason games, and Green didn’t do enough to distinguish himself as the second teams center,” wrote Pryor.
The Steelers drafted Green at No. 87 overall in the 2021 NFL draft. He started 15 games as a rookie and won’t turn 25 until late December.
Steelers to Cut 2021 Third-Round Pick Kendrick Green?
The Steelers drafted running back Najee Harris and tight end Pat Freiermuth in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL draft. But then later on Day 2 and early on Day 3 in that draft class, Pittsburgh targeted offensive linemen to replace departed center Maurkice Pouncey and tackle Alejandro Villanueva.
After Green in the third round, the Steelers selected offensive tackle Dan Moore in the fourth round.
Moore will have to switch to right tackle at some point as Broderick Jones enters the lineup. But he’s made 33 starts in his career, and he is a guarantee to make the Steelers roster for Week 1.
Appearing to be desperate to find Green some playing time, the Steelers deployed the 2021 third-rounder at full back during training camp. But Kaboly and Pryor both made it clear that that unusual tactic will not be enough to get Green a spot on the Pittsburgh roster.
Green didn’t dress at all last season after starting 15 games as a rookie. During his rookie season, the Pro Football Focus player grades ranked him 25th out of 27 centers who played at least 50% of his team’s offensive snaps.
PFF rated him No. 17 out of 18 centers who lined up for 80% of his team’s snaps on offense in 2021.
Ben Roethlisberger Critical of Steelers’ Handling of Green?
It was evident on The Footbahlin Podcast on August 9 that former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn’t pay attention too closely to the team’s training camp. But Roethlisberger still had an opinion on Green.
“The fact of the matter that I heard this week that the guy that they draft, and I love this guy so this is not a knock on him, I love Kendrick Green. He was a great guy. Good teammate,” Roethlisberger said. “They drafted that guy to be my center.”
“Last year, he didn’t even dress. And now they have him playing a little bit of full back.”
Roethlisberger didn’t flat out state the Steelers have misused Green the past two years, but it seemed implied in his comments. Roethlisberger also appeared perturbed, in retrospect, that Green, who didn’t play much center in college, was the team’s answer at center for his final season.
“Good for him to find a way to get on the field,” Roethlisberger said. “[But] Kevin Colbert drafted him to be my center for my last year, and now he’s playing full back.”
After August 29, it’s likely that he won’t be playing full back for the Steelers anymore either.