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: Rookie Kevin Dotson got the opportunity to start his second game of the season already on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns due to David DeCastro missing the game due to injury. He represented himself particularly well in pass protection, although he had some issues in run blocking.
For a player who likely was drafted with the idea in mind that he would be in the starting lineup within the next few years, Kevin Dotson is certainly getting an extended early preview. Through the first five games of his career, he has already played meaningful snaps in four of them, played extensively in three, and started two of them, for a total of 190 snaps.
And he wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to play this many snaps if he were struggling. They could have turned to J.C. Hassenauer or even Derwin Gray while Stefen Wisniewski remains sidelined. They did not because there were no indications that it would be warranted.
Dotson has played particularly well in pass protection, and that is the key component of the game that he has to master first and foremost to get on the field. His background is more in run blocking, and that is more likely to come around as he gains more NFL-level experience, so that isn’t a particular concern right now.
It’s still not definite whether or not David DeCastro will play on Sunday or if he will miss his fourth game of the year, though he appears to be on his way back for the second time already this season. That means it’s back to the bench for Dotson, but he could still see rare short-yardage work.
The fourth-round pick wasn’t even supposed to play this year, but he got valuable experience under his belt now and that came all in Steelers victories, so there really isn’t much to complain about. If course you want to keep DeCastro healthy and on the field, but winning is the most important thing, as always, and Dotson did not work contrary to that end.