Now that the 2020 training camp has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: G Kevin Dotson
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: While the rookie offensive lineman had to miss a chunk of time in training camp because of a scary knee injury, he has been back on the field for over a week, and has even drawn some positive praise for his work on the field, expressing confidence in his own abilities.
Despite the fact that he missed out on OTAs, rookie minicamp, and mandatory minicamp—despite missing a chunk of time in training camp, and without the preseason—rookie guard Kevin Dotson has seemingly made the most of the few opportunities he has had.
The strongly-built rookie has been noted on multiple occasions as having had success in practice, particularly when participating in one-on-one drills, including against the team’s starting defensive linemen, whom, in case you have forgotten, are very good. He himself said that he came away from that feeling like he could hold his own.
Although it was more a matter of circumstance, Dotson last week even got some work with the first-team line. With both Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro sitting out practice, he lined up at right guard while Stefen Wisniewski was installed at center.
It was premature, frankly, for people to expect him to take over a starting job right out of the gate. However, what he has shown so far—or at least how it sounds on paper, purely in a practice setting—has made it sound as though he is the player that they felt he was when they drafted him.
He figures to serve as the team’s eighth lineman during his rookie season, which will have a different meaning than it usually does. Under the new CBA rules, teams will have the option of dressing an eighth offensive lineman (and only an offensive lineman—and only with seven others dressed) without it counting against their gameday helmets.
In other words, he will probably be available for the team to use in-game this year if they so choose. They could get creative with heavy sets, using two extra linemen at the goal line, and things of that nature. They use the tackle-eligible in part to give young linemen playing time experience. There’s an opportunity.