As part of a relatively reshuffled interior offensive line, incumbent starting left guard Kevin Dotson finds himself in a training camp competition. After struggling with injuries and overall inconsistent play in 2021, the former fourth-round draft pick will have to hold off 2021 third-round pick Kendrick Green at left guard.
Dotson, speaking with reporters Thursday on the final day of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ mandatory minicamp at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side, revealed that he’s competing with Green, who was the Steelers’ starting center last season but is moving back to his more nature position of guard this season after struggling mightily at center.
The Steelers already brought in veteran free agents James Daniels and Mason Cole this offseason to seemingly solidify right guard and center. Now though, more changes could be ahead for the interior of the offensive line if Dotson can’t hold off Green. He isn’t sweating the competition though, according to 93.7 The Fan’s Jeff Hathhorn. Instead, Dotson is embracing it, knowing it will only push him and make him better in the end.
“I love competition,” Dotson said, according to reporting from Hathhorn via 93.7 The Fan. “It brings out the best in you and I want to see the best of myself. In college I really didn’t have anyone backing me up. I got the big head in college because anyone behind me I really didn’t have any fights against.”
While in college with the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, Dotson was part of a high-level offensive line that featured fellow NFL players Robert Hunt and Max Mitchell. Dotson, as he said, was never really challenged, which allowed him to rest on his laurels a bit. Now though, in the NFL he’s being pushed despite being penciled in as the starter in 2021 before dealing with injuries to both ankles.
Prior to his first season as a true starter for the Steelers, Dotson shined in the black and gold as a rookie in 2020, filling in for the likes of Matt Feiler and David DeCastro for stretches. There’s certainly a good offensive lineman in there with Dotson, assuming health.
With a push from Green, Dotson should be able to ascend to high level of play he showed as a rookie once again. In the end, the Steelers’ offensive line should be better for it, even if Green is the one that ends up beating out Dotson. Competition breeds excellence, and that’s exactly what the Steelers’ young offensive line is aiming for under new offensive line coach Pat Meyer.