Kevin Dotson is projected to become the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting left guard in 2021. And in doing so, is projected as one of football’s breakout second-year players. Dotson cracked this CBS list of sophomore standouts for the upcoming season. In his selection of Dotson, author Josh Edwards wrote:
“Although it was a small sample size, Dotson fared very well when thrust into action. Pittsburgh has bigger concerns on the edge, but some re-shuffling could be in order with Matt Feiler switching positions or someone taking on the role vacated by Maurkice Pouncey. Coming into the draft I was a big fan of Dotson, and he did not disappoint. His star could shine even brighter with a larger workload.”
To be honest, Dotson’s sample size wasn’t all that small. He started four games, one-quarter of the season, and ended up playing nearly one-third of the snaps. 358 as a rookie. But 2021 should insert him into the starting lineup immediately. Matt Feiler is slated to become a free agent and even if he re-signs, he’s more likely to kick back out to right tackle, where he played and excelled in 2019.
As the article notes, Dotson more than held his own in Year #1. He was one of the team’s better run blockers, though that was a low bar, and he was partiulcarly impressive in pass protection. In fact, he was a better pass blocker than run blocker and graded out as one of the NFL’s best in that category.
Here’s what Pro Football Focus wrote about him in early January after naming him to their All-Rookie team.
“Dotson dominated in one area of his job — pass protection. Dotson only drew four starts on the season and played just 358 offensive snaps total, but in that time on the field, he was one of the better pass-blocking interior offensive linemen in the league.
Dotson allowed just one pressure — a hurry — the entire season in 206 pass-blocking snaps. That 0.5% pressure rate allowed is the lowest by any rookie offensive lineman with at least 150 pass-blocking snaps in the past 10 seasons. Ben Roethlisberger getting the ball out as quickly as he did played a role there, but Dotson deserves his credit, as well.”
And before the season ended, we dedicated a video to Dotson in pass protection against the Indianapolis Colts. Dotson will be counted on for a big role along an offensive line seeing more turnover than it has in the last decade. Alejandro Villanueva will likely be playing elsewhere in 2021. Maurkice Pouncey has retired. Matt Feiler isn’t guaranteed to return. And there will be free agents and/or rookies added to this team. The good news is Dotson seemed to be a home run pick of the Steelers and capable starting left guard for this upcoming season.
Dotson was one of three AFC North players to make this list, joining Ravens’ RB JK Dobbins and Browns’ S Grant Delpit. However, Dotson was the only linemen to make the list, a testament to how well he played as a rookie.