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 reasoning. 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 lineman appears to have re-established himself as the Steelers’ starting left guard.
Despite the fact that he spent the entirety of OTAs and minicamp running with the first-team offensive line, head coach Mike Tomlin seemingly decided to play bad cop with second-year offensive lineman Kevin Dotson once he got to training camp.
Either suffering an ankle injury very early on in camp or prior to camp, Dotson had not done any work for weeks due to said issue, missing the first preseason game. When he did get on the field, he spent his first week back running with the second-team line, and Tomlin, when asked, said he wasn’t running with the ones because he hadn’t earned it.
After coming into the next preseason game after the starters, though, Dotson played much better than Rashaad Coward, who was running ahead of him at the time. Since then, this past week, he has been back with the ones while everybody is healthy, and he should be there with Ben Roethlisberger tonight, as well.
A fourth-round pick, he started four games last season as a rookie, two at either guard position. With Matt Feiler parting in free agency, that left the job for him to earn—with little in the way of viable competition, to be honest.
While they retained J.C. Hassenauer and brought back B.J. Finney, adding Coward and Joe Haeg in free agency, I doubt there was anyone who expected anybody but Dotson to start at left guard in the regular season, barring a high draft pick at the position.
Of course, it must be said that while optimism around him is high, he still has quite a lot to prove. He only has about three hundred or so snaps under his belt. He’s played well during that time, for the most part, but he’s far from a finished product, let alone an established player.