As players got ready for Thursday’s practice at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, Steelers OG Kevin Dotson took time to talk to the media to answer several questions posed to him about his offseason, including his preparation for the 2022 season and the anticipated LG battle between he and Kendrick Green.
According to a Tweet sent out by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Chris Adamski on whether he expects the be handed the starting spot, Dotson declined to put it that way, confirming that it will be “a competition” with Green for the starting gig.
Dotson was then asked about his high grades in pass protection compared to run blocking per Pro Football Focus and if he thinks that he can improve as a run blocker specifically in 2022 in order to help take Pittsburgh’s running game out of the bottom of the barrel compared to the last few seasons.
“I feel like even in PFF, they’ve been telling me my pass grade is pretty good, but that’s not what I like to do,” Dotson said according to video via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Chris Adamski. “Run blocking is my favorite thing to do. I want to be able to show that. This first two years I haven’t been able to show my real run block ability. Like I have some spurts, but I want that to be my main attribute that you know me by.
Dotson was known for being a bully of a run blocker coming out of Louisiana Lafayette in the 2020 NFL Draft where the Steelers selected him in the fourth round, having the strength and tenacity to displace defenders off the LOS and create wide running lanes for backs like Elijah Mitchell to exploit into explosive runs. Still in his brief two seasons in the league, Dotson has graded out as a better pass blocker than run blocker, earning a 87.2 grade as a rookie in 2020 and 78.4 grade in 2021 in pass protection compared to a run blocking grade of 55.1 as a rookie and a grade of 60.8 last season.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Dotson wants to be considered a nasty run blocker, as this fit his play style coming out of college, and he has flashed at times when not sidelined due to injury. Ultimately, it will come down to availability and consistency from Dotson to hold off Green for the starting LG job in 2022, and becoming the run blocker he has shown glimpses of becoming at times will go a long way in improving the outlook of Pittsburgh’s offensive line this season. With improvement and availability from Dotson along with the additions of James Daniels and Mason Cole, Dotson believes RB Najee Harris could easily pace the league in rushing yards this season.
“We have the running back to get 2,000 yards,” said Dotson according Teresa Varley via the team’s website. “He was breaking five tackles a game. If we could block two more people, that’s another 20-30 yards a game.”