A new mini-series for Steelers Depot this offseason. We’re taking a look at which Steelers are under the brightest lights this offseason. Players who need to have big years in make-or-break seasons. Starting today with OG Kevin Dotson.
Kevin Dotson/OG (Third Year)
When it comes to this category, Dotson might not be the first name who comes to mind. But 2022 is a critical year for Dotson. He enjoyed a solid rookie season, starting four games in 2020. Two at left guard, two at right guard, and he surprisingly looked comfortable at the former despite exclusively being a right guard in college. Still, it was just four total starts, and seeing what he could do over a full season was the looming question.
2021 started off on the wrong foot. Dotson, for reasons that were never exactly made clear, missed the first half of training camp and valuable summer reps. He eventually made his way into the lineup and started the season. But his play, like the rest of the front five, was below the line. Dotson made it about halfway through the season before suffering a high ankle sprain in that ugly tie against Detroit. In the moment, it felt like he could and would return late in the regular season but he evidently never got healthy and didn’t log a snap the rest of the season.
So through two years, he’s started just 13 games and his play has been a mixed bag. He has size and physicality are assets, but he hasn’t translated his tools into being a high-level linemen. Granted, there’s been a lot of movement around him, sandwiched between a rookie left tackle and center last year, but that doesn’t excuse all his issues.
The good news is Dotson should hit the ground running in 2022, healthy and hopefully without any training camp hiccups. It sounds like he’ll battle Kendrick Green, but Green is more likely to become a backup swingman than Dotson would be, given his center experience and versatility. If Dotson puts in a good season, he’ll be the team’s starter in 2023, the final year of his rookie deal. If not, you’ll have a mid-round pick with a good rookie season in limited action, an injury-plagued sophomore year, and a “meh” junior season. Left guard is one spot on the line the team hasn’t added to over the past two offseasons the way they have at left tackle, center, and right guard. But if Dotson doesn’t take a big step forward, left guard will be on Omar Khan’s shopping list next offseason.