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Steelers Looking for Kendrick Green to Play Center

Despite limited experience, the Pittsburgh Steelers believe they have found their next center in Kendrick Green.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers selected their new center (hopefully) with the 89th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Illinois star Kendrick Green has limited experience in the middle of the offensive line, but it won't limit expectations for him in the role.

Green started 33 games with the Fighting Illini, but only four of those starts came at center. Even with his little experience, though, the Steelers want, and believe, the third-round pick can come in and replace Maurkice Pouncey. 

"We love the way that he plays in terms of what we've been talking about, in terms of changing our demeanor and the attitude that we want to carry onto the field," offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said on Green. "He embodies all of that."

Green believes he'll transition smoothly into a full-time role in the middle. Klemm believes Green's upside comes from playing across the offensive line, but there will be some belief he can start over B.J. Finney and J.C. Hassenauer in 2021.

"I feel like I am a really athletic offensive lineman, the most athletic offensive lineman in this year's class," Green described his game. "I play with a mean streak. I am looking to play physical and finish guys. Hopefully I fit right. I am looking to come in, be a sponge, and be a workhorse.

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"I play physical, I play fast, and I try to finish guys. I feel like there is a place for that anywhere."

The Steelers will hope that's true as he brings that mean streak to a black and gold uniform. Klemm highlighted Green's attitude during his press conference, calling the center an "alpha," and was intrigued by the demeanor Green brings to the field. 

"I think people like to think you can teach it, but it's inherent in you," Klemm said. "Some people just naturally have that. As a coach you can be demanding of it, in critical moments of the game when man measures man, whoever you truly are is going to come out. You have that dog in you, that wolf in you. I love it when I find a guy that I don't have to bring that out in. He plays with that nasty disposition.

"It sets the tone, especially at that position. It's in the belly of the beast. If we play collectively like that, it's contagious."

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.