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: While outside free agent deals cannot be made official until tomorrow at 4PM EST, it has been reported that Matt Feiler has agreed in principle to join the Chargers, which would guarantee his not returning to play left guard, leaving the position open for Kevin Dotson to ascend full-time into the starting lineup.
While we are only about 19 hours into the ‘legal tampering period’ of the NFL offseason, so far it may well be the case that second-year offensive guard Kevin Dotson is the biggest winner in free agency for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
By virtue of fifth-year veteran offensive lineman Matt Feiler agreeing to a three-year, $21 million contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, it guarantees that he will not be returning to the Steelers, where he started at left guard last season.
Provided that the deal goes through as expected and is made official tomorrow, it pretty much cements Kevin Dotson’s status as a starter, taking over at the left guard position where he started a couple of games (as well as two at right guard) due to injury.
By virtually any accounting, the fourth-round rookie acquitted himself well in the starting lineup, and in particular seemed to have a knack for pass protection, even though he came into the league with a reputation of being a mauler in the run game.
While this plan could still be derailed in the unlikely event that they draft a guard early next month, it would be a significant boon if the Steelers could land a reliable and potentially long-term starter with a mid-round pick out of Dotson, who certainly looked the part last season.
After all, it’s not as though the team has consistently filled its line with pedigree. Feiler himself was undrafted, as was Alejandro Villanueva, their two-time Pro Bowl left tackle, who figures to cash in big during free agency as well.