Now that training camp 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: The second-year offensive guard practiced in full yesterday for the first time since training camp opened, reportedly having battled an ankle injury that kept him from participating before now.
Head coach Mike Tomlin can say whatever he wants in front of the media, for whatever reason, but I don’t think many fans who closely follow the team were overly concerned when he gave a flippant answer to the question of why Kevin Dotson was running second team today rather than with the first-team offense.
A 2020 fourth-round pick, Dotson started four games, due to injury, as a rookie last season, and he was penciled in as a starter at left guard after Matt Feiler left the team in free agency to sign with the Los Angeles Chargers back in March.
According to Brooke Pryor of ESPN, though, the second-year man battled an ankle injury throughout training camp before finally getting to get back on the field in full participation during yesterday’s practice—as mentioned, running second-team behind Rashaad Coward, who has taken first-team reps all offseason.
His first-team reps in the spring, though, came at right guard before David DeCastro was released. Now Trai Turner is there, and he’s been running in Dotson’s spot while he was injured since camp opened. How long that will last remains to be seen.
Dotson actually suffered an injury in training camp last year, and yet still had no problem fitting in, logging a few snaps even in the season opener after there was no preseason, and starting in Week 2. Now that he seems to be healthy again, I have no doubt he’ll soon work his way back up to first-team reps.
His play was widely praised when he started four games last season. There was some controversy with an uncorroborated report back in June that the Steelers were, at one point, dissatisfied with his conditioning, but I still don’t buy that there was ever anything behind that, even though those who bought it will cite Tomlin’s comments yesterday as evidence.