Kevin Dotson didn't expect to be thrown into the starting lineup in just his second NFL game, but if there is anyone who could have handled it, it was the calm, cool and collected Dotson.
Dotson, the Steelers second of two fourth-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, the 135th pick overall, stepped into the lineup in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos, due to injuries to David DeCastro and Stefen Wisniewski. He got off to a good start, as the line blocked for James Conner, who gained 106 yards on the ground, and protected Ben Roethlisberger as he threw for 311 yards with two touchdown passes and only one sack.
"I don't get too nervous about playing in games, playing football," said Dotson a few days after the game. "I get more nervous about real life situations. I have done football long enough to know what could possibly happen and not get nervous."
Dotson didn't give up any sacks in his first start, his pass protection right on point, and his run blocking was strong as well.
"I think I did better in my pass protection," said Dotson. "I don't think I did too bad in either, but I think I did better in my pass not giving up any sacks against a quality opponent.
"People who know football know that I am more versatile than just being a run blocker. The people who know the position, know I am not just a run blocker. It was good to be able to prove it to other people."
Dotson, who played at the University of Louisiana, started four games in 2020, two at right guard and two at left guard. He played in 13 games, missing two while on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. Dotson, who proved to be a strong force in pass protection, earned praise from veteran offensive linemen for his efforts.
"Kevin Dotson will be a Steeler for a long time," said recently retired center Maurkice Pouncey during the season. "He's like DeCastro in a way, the way he pass-sets, the way he run blocks. He has all the intangibles that you want in an offensive lineman.
"He's a really great kid, I can't say enough about him. Hopefully, he keeps his head on the right way and keeps progressing in the right way."
INDIVIDUAL GAME HIGHLIGHTS
• 9/20 vs Denver: Made his first career start at right guard after injuries to both G David DeCastro and G Stefen Wisniewski...part of an offensive line that blocked for 100+ yard rusher (RB James Conner) and a 300+ yard passer (QB Ben Roethlisberger).
• 9/27 vs Houston: Was part of an offensive line that blocked for 100+ yard rusher (RB James Conner).
• 10/18 vs Cleveland: Was part of an offensive line that blocked for 100+ yard rusher (RB James Conner).
• 11/8 at Dallas: Was part of an offensive line that allowed no sacks.
• 11/15 vs Cincinnati: Reserve/COVID-19
• 11/22 at Jacksonville: Reserve/COVID-19
• 12/2 vs Baltimore: Elevated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list...part of an offensive line that allowed no sacks.
• 12/7 vs Washington: Was part of an offensive line that allowed no sacks for the fifth consecutive week.
• 12/13 at Buffalo: Left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return.
• 12/21 at Cincinnati: Inactive due to a shoulder injury.
• 12/27 vs Indianapolis: Was part of an offensive line that blocked for a 300+ yard passer (QB Ben Roethlisberger).
• 1/3 at Cleveland: Was part of an offensive line that blocked for a 300+ yard passer (QB Mason Rudolph).
• 1/10 Wildcard vs Cleveland: Was part of an offensive line that blocked for a 500+ yard passer (QB Ben Roethlisberger).
Take a look at photographs of Steelers OL Kevin Dotson from the 2020 season