Kendrick Green - IOL, Illinois
By the numbers:
6'2", 305 pounds. 4.85 40-yard dash per pro day.
2020: All-Big Ten first-team selection.
Explosiveness and athleticism are the names of Kendrick Green's game. He moves very quickly off the snap to engage with defensive linemen and does well on reach blocks. He gets out in space, climbs to the second level of the defense and his hips open and close freely as he picks up assignments. Green looks very comfortable moving laterally in pass sets. He's a very fluid athlete overall.
Versatility and potential are obvious with Green. He played both guard and center at Illinois, performing well in both roles. He has a strong core and understands leverage — two qualities that should play at either position. A converted defensive tackle, Green is relatively new to playing along the offensive line and is still learning on the fly. He has a ton of room to grow and his athletic profile contributes to his high ceiling.
While not extremely short or light, Green is undoubtedly undersized for an interior lineman. He doesn't have great length and his current frame suggests he has more of a center's build. Plus hand and overall upper body strength help, although longer or bigger defensive tackles may still win against him. That will be a possibility throughout his entire career.
Green's potential is great, but he isn't ready to contribute immediately. He loses balance in pass sets and needs to improve his ability to make on-the-fly adjustments at the line of scrimmage. When working in space, he sometimes takes poor angles. Green needs to sit for at least a year and iron out the finer parts of his game before assuming a starting role in 2022 and beyond. This season will be huge for his development.
How Green fits with the Chiefs:
The guard position is an area of strength for the 2021 Chiefs. Joe Thuney was signed in free agency, as was Kyle Long. Nick Allegretti remains on the team while Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is returning after opting out of last season. At center, Austin Reiter has departed and Austin Blythe is taking his place. Green is not only a great fit in a zone-run scheme like that of the Chiefs, but he also wouldn't be under immediate pressure to perform. Blythe can be the team's starter this season, then the door could open after that for Green.
Green is a rare athlete and a player who, albeit versatile, projects as a future starting center in the NFL. He needs time to continue maturing and rounding out his game. His lack of great size is a minor concern, but he possesses good core strength and a firm grip. Green grades out as a fourth-round prospect who has a high ceiling and could step in down the road as a center of the future — especially on a team that features outside zone run plays.