The Steelers will have some decisions to make before the season starts. That is no secret, as the team currently sits at 90 players but will have to shave that down to 53 players. That might not be so tough from a macro view, but when it comes to the final two or three players, it will get tough. However, one of the players to watch over the next few months is guard Kevin Dotson.
Dotson is a player who has had his ups and downs throughout his career. He enters this season with virtually little chance of being a starter barring injury. Dotson even knows that the Steelers are unlikely to start him this year. After singing former Eagles guard Isaac Seumalo to a healthy contract, it seems that Seumalo and James Daniels are entrenched as the starters on either side of the interior.
“I mean, once you pay somebody, it’s set in stone regardless,” Dotson said at OTAs. “It’s almost, I don’t know I couldn’t tell you.”
However, Dotson is still a good enough baseline NFL player. You can do a lot worse than him. He gets penalized a lot and his down-t0-down consistency is a question. Those are two flaws, but he’s got impressive strength, a steady anchor in pass protection, and is a fine run blocker. At worst, he’s a high-level backup. At best, he’s an average NFL starter that Pittsburgh simply upgraded upon when they got the chance to nab Seumalo.
With that in mind, it brings up the question — what about a trade involving Dotson? Pittsburgh’s offensive line depth is at a point where it has not been in years as they have rebuilt the line. But the team has some strength on the interior. Dotson, Nate Herbig, Spencer Anderson, Kendrick Green, and others are competing for a few precious spots there. Does that mean a Dotson trade, with one year left on his deal, could be something they explore?
Dotson will be in competition with guys like Herbig and Anderson for depth spots. He is competing to be the top backup at both guard slots. There’s luxury to having at least two guys in Dotson and Herbig that if one of those interior guys does go down, the Steelers could trust them starting. Pat Meyer even suggested that as such.
“We had all five of our guys start and play the majority of the snaps last year,” Meyer said. “We recognize how fortunate we were there. It’s lucky. We’ll not be so lucky this year.”
That’s a key quote. The Steelers are likely to get inquiries on Dotson’s status. He’s young, comes at a controllable cost, and still, theoretically, has upside to his game. There will be injuries and situations that don’t work out for teams at guard. Those teams might come falling for Dotson, who could be an upgrade for a few teams.
I think the question is largely similar to the Mason Rudolph question from last year. What’s the price have to be to move him? The Steelers may well get more value out of Dotson being the security blanket backup if he wins that top job. I’d say they’re likely to get a late day three pick as an offer for him. I’m just not sure moving Dotson for a 6th round pick at the expense of your interior offensive line depth makes much sense.
Now, if a team comes calling and is willing to give up a 4th round pick, I think you have to move him at that point. But Dotson is a guy that really isn’t that far from putting together a career where he could be a starter for any number of teams. If that down to down consistency comes about, he’s at that level. I think Pittsburgh is better off keeping him at this juncture unless a team deals their hands.