The Steelers selected center Kendrick Green in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the 87th pick overall.
"I am really excited about KG. He is a guy we had our eye on," said offensive line coach Adrian Klemm. "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. He embodies all of that. He has great leadership qualities. He was the alpha in that program. He is just a tremendous player. He can do it all. The pulls, physical in the run game, pass protect. All of those things."
Green played at the University of Illinois, starting all eight games in 2020, and finishing out his college career with 33 straight starts.
He was a USA Today second team All-America selection, an Associated Press All-Big Ten first team selection and a consensus All-Big Ten first team selection.
Green has played both center and guard in his career, starting three games at center in 2020.
"I was definitely talking to coach Klemm and Coach (Mike) Tomlin about the center position," said Green, who said he is open to playing both center and guard. "I am looking forward to stepping in and trying to contribute as soon as possible.
"I feel like I am a really athletic offensive lineman, the most athletic offensive lineman in this year's class. I play with a mean streak. I am looking to play physical and finish guys. Hopefully I fit right in. I am looking to come in, be a sponge, and be a workhorse.
"I play physical, I play fast, and I try to finish guys. I feel like there is a place for that anywhere."
That mean streak is something that has endeared him to the coaching staff and is something that he just has in him.
"I think people like to think you can teach it, but it's inherent in you," said Klemm. "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.
"A lot of guys are pushers and shovers. This guy is a puncher."
Peoria High School
3rd Round – 87th Overall
Started all eight games ... Moved to center for three games while starting center Doug Kramer was sidelined ... finished the season with 33 straight starts ... USA TODAY second-team All‐America ... Illinois' first offensive player to earn All‐America honors since FB Jay Prosch in 2011 ... Illinois' first offensive lineman to earn All‐America honors since Jon Asamoah in 2009 ... Associated Press first-team All‐Big Ten ... consensus first-team All‐Big Ten ... Illinois' first offensive player to earn first-team All‐Big Ten since WR A.J. Jenkins in 2011 ... Illinois' first offensive lineman to earn first-team All‐Big Ten since Martin O'Donnell in 2007 ... third-highest rated guard in the country by PFF and No. 17 (min. 475 snaps) offensive lineman in the nation during the regular season ... finished the season with 33 straight starts ... Phil Steele Preseason fourth-team All‐Big Ten ... Outland Trophy watch list.
Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers third-round pick Kendrick Green
Started 12 games at left guard and one game at center ... Pro Football Focus All‐America honorable mention ... All‐Big Ten honorable mention (media) ... PFF Midseason All‐America honorable mention ... No. 6 graded offensive guard in the nation and No. 2 in Power‐5 by PFF (77.1) entering bowl games ... PFF Big Ten Team of the Week after Eastern Michigan game 9/14/19 ... ended the season with 25 straight starts.
Started all 12 games at left guard ... part of an OL that paved the way for the most‐improved running game in the nation (+137.4 ypg from 2017 to '18), finishing 12th in FBS and second in the Big Ten at 243.0 ypg ... first career start and Illinois debut in the season opener against Kent State ... moved to OL prior to the season after practicing at defensive tackle during his freshman season in 2017.
Redshirted 2017 season as a defensive tackle.
Born Dec. 22, 1998 ... Majored in sociology.