The Pittsburgh Steelers need a new center on the heels of veteran Maurkice Pouncey retiring this offseason but it won’t be guard Kevin Dotson making the move to the position this offseason to fill his shoes.
While there hasn’t been too much speculation that Dotson might possibly move to center from guard this offseason, there’s been enough to warrant him being asked about a possible switch. He told me Thursday night that he indeed has not been asked to switch from guard to center this offseason.
Dotson, who was drafted last year by the Steelers in the fourth-round out of Louisiana-Lafayette following him not being invited to annual scouting combine, said last April that he had dabbled some at the center position after spending his entire college career playing right guard.
“I haven’t really played center before, but I’ve been working it this offseason,” Dotson said last April. “I’m starting to get more comfortable with it.”
Now former Steelers offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett also said immediately after Dotson was drafted by the team that they would begin teaching Dotson the center position but that “some guys can’t do it.”
The fact that Dotson won’t be moving to center this offseason to replace Pouncey is no big deal, however. After all, he played guard his entire college career. He also showed in the 358 total offensive snaps that he played during his 2020 rookie season that he could play both guard spots at the NFL level and play them well. In fact, Dotson logged 165 total snaps at left guard in 2020 and 189 more at right guard.
Moving forward into his second NFL season, Dotson is primed to be the Steelers new fulltime starting left guard. As for who will start the 2021 season at center for the Steelers, that’s still yet to be seen. Right now, the Steelers don’t technically have a center under contract for the 2021 season following the retirement of Pouncey. That said, former undrafted free agent J.C. Hassenauer, who played some last season at center when Pouncey missed time, is surely to be exclusive rights free agent tendered in the coming weeks and thus be back under contract real soon.
The Steelers will likely also sign a more experienced center on the cheap in the next several weeks and then likely select one in the first three or four rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft as well.