Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth 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 have seen and are seeing over the course of the season and into 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. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: G Kevin Dotson
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: With the Steelers adding two veteran starting-caliber interior offensive linemen in free agency, Dotson, a third-year player with 12 starts in two seasons, will at the least have to compete to earn a starting job this year.
James Daniels was one of the most significant signings the Steelers have made in free agency in a while. He is a young, ascending starter who will be a plug-and-play option, and is instantly their best offensive lineman.
But he is replacing Trai Turner, who remains a free agent and is not likely to be re-signed. The parallel addition of Mason Cole is where Kevin Dotson really gets hurt. Whether Cole starts at center or at guard, it limits Dotson and kicks competition his way.
True, Cole isn’t technically guaranteed a starting job, but the Steelers gave him a salary that indicates they expect him to start. And with him entering the picture, if he starts at center, then that pushes Kendrick Green into the competition for the left guard spot.
He could also see competition from J.C. Hassenauer and John Leglue, both of whom have started there. Dotson’s reputation from one year to the next has certainly changed quite a bit, and it didn’t help that he missed most of last season with an ankle injury.
The young man has suffered at least four injuries since entering the league, including two during the offseason that limited his ability to participate in training camp. He has also suffered at least two in-season injuries that have caused him to miss time.
That also factors into the equation. Availability is always valuable, especially when you’re trying to compete for a starting job. Speaking personally, I still believe he has a lot of talent and is the second-best guard on this team behind Daniels. But he’ll have to prove it to the team. And I’m sure he loves the fact that he’s being doubted, so there’s that.