Now that the 2021 offseason has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, 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 offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future.
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 are in the process of trying to restock their offensive line, and 2020 rookie Kevin Dotson appears to be a good first foray into that effort.
The Steelers went from having one of the best offensive lines in the league to having one of the most imbalanced. While, as a group, they still remain above average in pass protection (though increasingly regressive to the mean), they have devolved into among the worst run-blocking groups out there.
If they are to re-establish a run-blocking mentality along the offensive line, then perhaps 2020 fourth-round draft pick Kevin Dotson will be a part of that transition. The irony is, of course, that while he entered the league with a reputation for being a road grader, it was actually his work in pass protection that was solidly more impressive.
But the overarching point is the fact that he came in immediately and showed himself to have starter potential, which puts him in the position of being in the running for a starting job this year. If Matt Feiler is not re-signed, then it is all but certain that Dotson will start at left guard.
Even if Feiler is re-signed, it is possible that he gets kicked back out to tackle, depending upon how the rest of the room is developed in the aftermath of free agency, leaving Dotson to occupy the guard position. Or, Dotson could simply beat him out for the job.
While it is exciting that he showed so well in pass protection early on, which was actually an area of minor concern on his scouting report, one must really hope that he also lives up to his billing as a road grader, and that that will develop in his second season.
One thing that is not in question is his physical strength, as he is certainly clearly powerful and has the capacity to be a people-mover. Perhaps, along with some of the other young linemen, the newly-promoted Adrian Klemm, now the offensive line coach, can work to get the most out of him.