Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is scheduled to hold his first press conference of the team’s 2021 training camp on Thursday. When he does, it’s likely he’ll talk some about the second-year players on the roster and how he expects to see growth from them this summer and beyond. One of those second-year players on the Steelers roster is Kevin Dotson, who is now installed as a starter on the team’s reconstructed offensive line. Why do I highlight Dotson? Well, Thursday morning he was listed by Seth Galina of Pro Football Focus as one of 15 second-year breakout candidates who could become stars in 2021.
Below is what Galina penned about Dotson, who he has listed eighth on his list of 15 players.
“Since 2015, no rookie guard has notched a higher pass-block grade than Dotson’s 87.2 mark from 2020. There is something of a sample issue, though, with Dotson starting and finishing only five games while seeing spot duty in another nine games. The other issue is that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s penchant for getting rid of the ball quickly could be inflating the young guard’s grade.
With that said, Dotson’s rookie stats are out of this world. He led the NFL in pass-block grade among guards, allowing zero sacks, zero hits on the quarterback and a microscopic 0.5% pressure rate. And assuming the Steelers still covet his skill set, he could have a breakout season in a full year as a starter.”
Dotson certainly is a great choice by Galina. As the Louisiana-Lafayette product moves into his second season, it will be interesting to see him do so as a designated starter right out of the chute, and at left guard at that. Last season, Dotson was asked to play both guard spots after playing exclusively on the right side throughout his entire college career. That had to be a challenge, and he seemingly handled it just fine on his way to logging 360 total offensive snaps as a rookie.
Dotson has now had a full offseason to adjust to the left guard position and not only that, he did so under the watchful eye of renowned offensive line guru Duke Manyweather. In short, yes, Dotson should be expected to have a breakout season in 2021, and he could quite possibly quickly become one of the NFL’s top left guards in the process.
The Steelers’ rebuilt offensive line is expected to be a lot more physical in 2021 under new position group coach Adrian Klemm, especially in the running game. Dotson is a perfect fit for such play based on his college tape.
In closing, I have a feeling that later today we’ll be passing along a few quotes on Dotson from Tomlin, with a few related to him talking about how he expects the young guard to progress in his second season, and essentially live up to the billing that Galina gave the 2020 fourth-round draft pick in his Thursday article. Dotson seems like a good bet to do just that.