The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted from the postseason in the opening round, which unfortunately marks the fifth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—a new record for the franchise since the merger. Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-7-1 and making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from the majority of the offensive line to Mike Hilton, Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Vince Williams—not to mention Stephon Tuitt, essentially.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2021 season.
Player: Kevin Dotson
Experience: 2 Years
Heading into the headiest part of the 2021 offseason, second-year guard Kevin Dotson out of the Ragin’ Cajun program was being viewed as the closest thing to a sure bet along the Steelers’ offensive line following the departure, through various means, of four starters.
A fourth-round pick in 2020, Dotson started four games due to injury and participated in a few more, consistently acquitting himself well when given the opportunity. That was despite not having a proper offseason due to the pandemic, which eliminated the preseason.
His sophomore season did not prove to be a seamless transition into franchise guard territory. I’m not really going to touch upon the uncorroborated early offseason report about the team being unhappy with him, but an injury to start training camp did require him to work his way ‘back’ into the starting lineup.
Health would prove to be against him this season, though. He ultimately spent the final eight games of the regular season, and the postseason, on the Reserve/Injured List due to an ankle injury. He was designated for return and practiced for a few weeks, but his window for activated closed without the team taking action.
Dotson finished the season having logged 565 snaps on offense, and much of his play within those snaps was rather pedestrian, albeit with an array of extenuating circumstances. There’s certainly no reason to write him off as a quality starter in the future; however, he still has to prove himself. It wouldn’t even be accurate to say that he needs to prove himself again, because he hasn’t done even that yet. They sure could stand to have him pan out and lock up one of the guard positions for the long haul, though.