The Chicago Bears are entering the 2021 NFL draft knowing that they have to upgrade their offensive line. While the play of Sam Mustipher shined towards the end of the 2020 season, if the team has a chance to upgrade at center, and keep James Daniels and Cody Whitehair as their guards, they have to do it. At that point, they would have Mustipher as a trusted veteran.
While the two center prospects who get talked about the most are Landon Dickerson and Creed Humphrey, there is another who is flying under the radar with just as much as upside. He also just so happens to play in the same state as the Chicago Bears.
Kendrick Green of Illinois is one of the most underrated offensive linemen in the entire draft class. This is partially fair because Green went to Illinois as a defensive lineman, but at the same time we have a Big 10 lineman with 33 career starts.
Green projects to the NFL as a center, but has 29 starts at guard to just four at the center. The combination of playing at Illinois where less attention is on him, moving from defense to offense, and projecting to move to guard has him as a sleeper in this draft class. This sleeper is one the Bears should know about, and should have eyes on.
Watch the play clipped here where he is lined up at center. He shoots out of his stance with ease consistently, but that rare ability to flip his hips and seal off the block is what is going to make him money in the NFL.
Here are two more clips. The first two, his ability to fire out of stance is once again shown off. However, what is impressive is that he gets vertical in the first rep, and lateral in the second. Both end with him securing a block in space. The second two plays are more about finishing, and strength. He plays with tenacity and an understanding of who his man is in zone blocking schemes.
We have a few more clips here. You have to love this from a lineman. The first clip is Kendrick Green working from center and driving his man into the ground. The second play shows him picking up a stunt with a drive to finish. In the final two plays, we see him moving in the run game.
In the run, in the pass, playing with toughness and quick feet, and two positions. This is a gem of a player.
Lastly, in his Pro Day, he had one of the best workouts for a center.
He is a bit undersized, but the lack of height is what is going to push him to center. At center, they have a player who can move and improve the run game. As a rookie, he would not have anything handed to him and would be in direct competition with Sam Mustipher.
Still, we are looking at a player that they could draft in the third round with elite athletism, big time experience, and tape that gets you fired up.
He is not talked about like he is one of the elite now, but in four years we may look back and realize all of the pieces made sense for Kendrick Green to be a star in the NFL at center.