Now that the 2020 regular season 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 are seeing over the course of the season as it plays out. Who is making plays? Who is missing them? Who is losing snaps? Who is struggling to stay on the field?
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. 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 season as we move forward.
Player: G Kevin Dotson
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The Steelers have played four games this season, and rookie Kevin Dotson has now played in three of them, due to injury. David DeCastro missed most of Sunday’s game, and Dotson again filled in admirably.
Kevin Dotson has played 125 snaps already this season for the Steelers. I’m fairly confident that nobody expected this to happen, perhaps not even over the course of the entire season, let alone over the course of the first four games.
Of course, it’s not a good thing that this has happened, as it means that David DeCastro has been missing a lot of snaps. It also means that Stefen Wisniewski has been injured, though at this point I feel as though the team would start Dotson at guard over Wisniewski.
Regardless of the circumstances that have put him in this position, he has made the most of it. While he did draw one holding penalty against the Philadelphia Eagles (playing against Fletcher Cox, as I recall), he once again very much held his own.
Not bad for a rookie fourth-round pick who wasn’t even invited to the NFL Scouting Combine and did not have the benefit of getting time in the preseason. And who missed a chunk of training camp because of a knee injury of his own, let’s not forget.
I’m not sure how many people noticed this, but there was even a snap in which the Steelers used Dotson (in addition to Jerald Hawkins) as a tackle-eligible on first and goal toward the end of the first quarter, on Benny Snell’s first-down run that was stuffed.
He was not on the field for the following play, Chase Claypool’s rushing touchdown, but the fact that they incorporated him into that goal line package, even if it was on the backside, is significant, and yet another indication of the confidence that they already have in him. He is giving strong indications about his ability to be a future starter in this league—as early as 2021, given the free agency status of three of the team’s linemen.