'Taking it on full speed'

Najee Harris isn't yet an expert on Steelers history, but he's already helped make some.

He and his fellow rookies on offense may just be getting started.

"I don't think they really draft a lot of offensive players here, do they?" Harris wondered aloud from the postgame podium on Saturday night.

"Not really, huh?"

Not since guard David DeCastro in 2012 had the Steelers invested a first-round selection in an offensive player.

And you have to go all the way back to 1984 to find the last time the Steelers drafted four of those with their first four picks (wide receiver Louis Lipps, tight end Chris Kolodziejski, wide receiver Weegie Thompson and guard Terry Long).

So yeah, this is different.

Harris, a running back from Alabama, on the first round.

Pat Freiermuth, a tight end from Penn State, on the second round.

Kendrick Green, a guard/center from Illinois, on the third round.

And Dan Moore Jr., an offensive tackle from Texas A&M, on the fourth round.

All four were on the field on third-and-6 from the Lions' 8-yard line with 2:59 left in the first quarter and the Steelers leading, 7-0, on Saturday night at Heinz Field.

Moments later it was 14-0 on the way to a 26-20 preseason victory.

Freiermuth's second touchdown reception of the night was a snapshot of what the Class of 2021 arrived intending to achieve individually and collectively, and sooner rather than later.

"Coming in, I feel like a lot of us had a good opportunity to play as a rookie," Harris offered. "To get better every day as rookies, it was really emphasized a lot this years because a lot of us will play early."

Harris will as a Day One starter.

So will Green (at least that's what we've been told we can "surmise" by head coach Mike Tomlin).

"That's what we're here for," Green said. "We're here to compete."

Freiermuth, who may or may not start on Sept. 12 at Buffalo, has been assimilating quickly as a second option at tight end.

And Moore has been learning right tackle the last couple of weeks after having opened training camp on the left side, an indication the role of swing tackle on game day may be awaiting him eventually if not immediately.

Not that there are likely to be any "bold announcements," as Tomlin had maintained in relation to Green's status.

With the Steelers' offensive rookies, no such declarations are necessary.

They know the drill and they know the score.

Consider Freiermuth's much more business-like-than-giddy response to his two-touchdown night against the Lions: "When the ball comes my way, I have to make plays. That's why they drafted me where they did."

Added Green: "Najee, Pat, Dan's playing pretty well, too. Especially just speaking on the offensive side, we're coming to work every day and that's what we expect."

Not that there isn't an emotional element attached to transitioning from college into the NFL on a fast track.

"Y'all see Pat?" Harris gushed to the media after the Lions game. "Y'all see that? Did you try to interview him?"

Green, meanwhile, admitted to being overwhelmed as he came out of the tunnel upon being introduced as the starting center.

"I kinda blacked out," he said. "I don't even remember, I was so nervous. But yeah, it was dope.

The Steelers prepare for the Week 3 preseason matchup against the Carolina Panthers

"I got a video of it."

Days later Green maintained he needed no such visual aid to appreciate the challenge of becoming a tone-setting presence in the middle of the offensive line despite his rookie status.

"I was told that's what my job's gonna be," he said. "Gotta accept it, do my job.

"I'm taking it on full speed."

He's not alone in that regard.

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