When the Steelers traded Kevin Dotson in August, they knew they were getting rid of a quality player. But Dotson’s 2023 was one of the year’s biggest breakouts, as he became a stalwart along the Rams offensive line. Pro Football Focus named Dotson as their second-team All-Pro at right guard, and he earned the highest run grade out of any guard.
He played primarily left guard for the Steelers, but he credited the switch from left to right guard as being a key catalyst for his 2023 campaign.
“The main thing is just being able to be back at right guard,” Dotson said. “Being back at right, I didn’t realize how much it made a difference for me until I started playing again. It came back to me within a week of practice where I was like, ‘Right side is where I’m meant to be.’ Even in Pittsburgh, they say my best years were when I got to play right. Switching to left, I didn’t feel like I did bad, but being at right, it all just made sense at right. When they switched me to left, that’s something I had to learn that is totally new.”
Pittsburgh drafted Dotson in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Dotson played phenomenally during his rookie season, as he made 13 appearances and recorded four starts while not allowing a single sack. He also played a significant role on a historic offensive line that allowed just 14 total sacks all season, the franchise’s lowest mark since 1982.
He had his second season cut short after just nine games of being a full-time starter and resumed his starting role last season with a season-ending ankle injury. After his level of play declined over the past two seasons, it seems his time as a Steeler is nearing its end. This offseason, the team signed Isaac Seumalo to a three-year, $24 million contract, and he is expected to take over the starting left guard position.
Dotson played a career-high 1,160 snaps last season and was rated as the Steelers third-best starting offensive lineman (65.4) and the best overall pass blocker (77.6) on the line by PFF.