Kendrick Green had a strong career as an offensive lineman at Illinois and the Pittsburgh Steelers noticed.

Green was the first Illinois player selected in this year’s NFL Draft, taken with the No. 87 pick in the third round on Friday night by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s also the highest-selected Fighting Illini player taken in the draft since defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot went No. 68 overall in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Green spent four seasons at Illinois and started in each of his final 33 games with the program. He redshirted in his first year in 2017 but he quickly carved out a role as a starter and one of the team’s offensive linemen in his final three seasons in Champaign.

After starting all 12 games as a sophomore in 2019, Green was a Pro Football Focus All-American, an All-B1G honorable mention and was one of the highest-graded offensive linemen in the B1G. Last season, he was a USA Today second-team All-American selection and was named a first-team All-B1G offensive lineman.

At 6-foot-4, some think Green might be slightly undersized along the offensive line. But he finishes blocks and has good quickness for a lineman. The Steelers seem to be impressed with what they’ve seen.