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Adrian Klemm on Kendrick Green: 'We don't ease guys into this; we just put them into the fire'

(Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In his interview with the media on the night that he was drafted by the Steelers in the third round at 87th overall, Kendrick Green claimed that he was the most athletic offensive lineman in the draft.

"I feel like I am a really athletic offensive lineman, the most athletic offensive lineman in this year's class," Green said. "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"

Green isn't the biggest, but he's a quick center who excels in zone blocking and at getting up to the second level. He also squatted 700 pounds when he was at Illinois, which shows that he has incredible lower body strength.

"I was definitely talking to coach Klemm and Coach (Mike) Tomlin about the center position," Green said on whether he would play at center or guard after he was drafted by the Steelers on April 30. "I am looking forward to stepping in and trying to contribute as soon as possible."

Green started all eight games in 2020 at Illinois and finished out his college career with 33 straight starts. Green played both center and guard in his career, starting three games at center in 2020 and just four overall at the center position as a Fighting Illini. So, Green doesn't have much experience playing center, but offensive line coach Adrian Klemm says he's adjusting to the position rather well.

"He's been doing fairly well," Klemm said via Chris Carter of DKPittsburghSports. "Not just making the transition to the NFL, but also the transition to full-time center. All that considered, he's done an admirable job. He's embraced it and he's learning the offense, so that it comes more second nature to him. I think he's done a good job. We don't ease guys into this; we just put them into the fire. You know how Coach (Tomlin) is; it's not about putting your toe in the water. it's about tossing in them in there and letting them learn to swim. I'm pleased with his progression. He's got a ways to go, but he's doing a good job so far."

Klemm is implementing an aggressive philosophy to the offensive line, who were passive last year with being a predominantly passing team. Klemm doesn't have to worry about installing physicality into Green, however, as it's already a part of his identity.

"It's not about talking about it every day," Klemm said via Mike Prisuta of "It's about (new offensive coordinator) Matt (Canada) designing plays that put us in situations that we can be physical. It's about making it so there's not that need for a ton of communication and plays where guys have to do a lot of reading and thinking. It's running and taking advantage of their natural athleticism and allowing them to be physical. Not overcomplicating things, simplifying things where we can so they can be as physical as possible.

"The majority of our guys already have it in them. Once you create that culture, you just feed off of it and you grow. We're nowhere near where we need to be but there's been some gains made in that direction and it's encouraging and I'm excited about it."

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