The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Kevin Dotson will eventually take over at right guard for David DeCastro once the veteran’s career is over.
Explanation: Kevin Dotson was a right guard throughout his college career, and he talked about how he felt uncomfortable when he had to start two games on the left side last year. While he said it’s a matter of getting used to it, he might ultimately feel more comfortable on the right side, and could move there when that spot is available.
It’s always a good idea to try to put players in the positions at which they are most comfortable. While Dotson can develop into a very talented left guard, there certainly is going to come a point in time where the Steelers can reasonably move him back to the right side, there he is more familiar, and that may be what’s best for the team.
Of course it depends on numerous other factors, including whoever else they might have at guard when the time comes for DeCastro to move on to his life’s work. But there’s a reason we talk about players feeling more comfortable in certain roles, like Chukwuma Okorafor potentially being more at home on the left side this year, where he has more high school and college experience.
By the time DeCastro retires, Dotson will probably already be entrenched in his role at left guard, enough to the point where it would make little sense to move him—barring the possibility of drafting a non-ambidextrous guard to come in and take over.
DeCastro was a right-side guard only when they used a first-round pick on him in 2012, which is why when they moved Willie Colon out of the right tackle spot, they moved him to left guard rather than right.
But that’s a completely different position switch, to the point where left and right don’t matter. And it’s equally likely that their next starting guard after DeCastro is a right-sided guard only, rather than left-sided.
Put simply, you move the fewest amount of pieces to make something work. If Dotson is doing well—assuming he’s even still in the starting lineup, or still on the team—when DeCastro’s gone, and there isn’t a clear reason that somebody else can’t play on the right side, then there isn’t a compelling case to move him, where he will have to actually re-learn that side all over again.