The Pittsburgh Steelers made it official yesterday in re-signing one of their former players, interior offensive lineman B.J. Finney, who somewhat famously announced in tears to his friends and family that he would be signing with his favorite team after the draft. Having grown up a Steelers fan, he opted to sign with Pittsburgh after he went undrafted, and spent five years there, including his rookie season on the practice squad, and is now back for more.
In light of that, it’s fitting to recap yet another lineman who was ecstatic to sign on the dotted line to join the Steelers recently, though in his case, it wasn’t by choice. That would be 2020 fourth-round draft pick Kevin Dotson, who made four starts as a rookie last season and looks like a strong bet to be the opening-day starting left guard this upcoming season.
He appeared on Good Morning Football earlier this week to talk about his experiences during his first season in the league and about the upcoming campaign, but first he recalled his draft experience and what it was like to get the call from the Steelers—and how it was an even bigger deal for his father.
It was a dream just because the amount of people that I was talking to, and the people that were calling me often, the Steelers only talked to me once, and that was my dream team to go to, but I felt like they kind of weren’t interested in me. But then once I got drafted, I was like, it probably took me a good week or two before I truly just like, I’m about to be in the Steelers. Like, I’m really about to be on the team. And my dad, he’d been a Steelers fan his entire life. So, right now, he still can’t believe it. He comes to the game and he’s just like, he’ll tell me after the game, like, ‘my son really on the Steelers’. He loves to definitely brag about it as much as he can.
A product of Louisiana-Lafayette, Dotson was the first non-Combine invitee to be drafted. He safely made the initial 53-man roster, but was projected to be the eighth lineman, assuming health, on game days.
The Steelers never had health, however. David DeCastro missed the early portion of the season due to injury, and then Stefen Wisniewski, the top interior reserve, was injured in the opener. That elevated Dotson to the role of the top backup guard, a role he would hold for the rest of the year, as when Wisniewski returned to health, he was let go.
He played a handful of snaps at the end of the season opener, and then started the next game, plus three more later on in the season, for a total of 360 offensive snaps. He was given the game ball after making his first start tin the second game, but as he says, it didn’t stay in his hands long.
“You know I had to give it to my dad”, he told his hosts. “They were gonna make me give it to him regardless. Ben was like, as soon as he gave it to me, ‘you better hurry up and give that to your dad. I know your dad’s waiting for that game ball’. It was a good confidence boost for me, and it kind of carried me through the season”.
That game, he said, allowed him to start feeling as though he belonged in the league, as a player from a smaller school who didn’t even get an invitation to the Combine, but he continued to prove on the field that he belonged, even while dealing with multiple injuries going back to training camp and a case of Covid-19.