Hidden Play Week 2 vs the Broncos: Dotson’s First Start

Kevin Dotson's IG @KevinIsBound

By: G.Stryker, Twitter @SNStryker and Instagram @SNStryker
SteelerNation.com

 

Games are full of special moments. Most are easy to see and are part of the highlight reel each week. Some moments happen just out of the limelight of the big play. But without their efforts, those big plays don’t happen. These hidden plays can be a block, a pressure, a tip, or football IQ creating the impact that is the difference between success and failure.

 

Usually when I do the Hidden Play of the Game, I focus on a single play to highlight the impact of a player’s effort that may have been missed. This time I will be discussing the overall play of rookie Kevin Dotson making his first NFL start. Drafted out of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, this Ragin’ Cajun was the second pick taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 4th round. Though he was a First Team All-American at right guard, he was not invited to the NFL Combine or the Senior Bowl.  

What started off as a snub by the league, ended up being the Steelers’ gain as they found a top talent on day 3 of the draft. The Steelers lacked a first round pick since they gave it to the Miami Dolphins to pick up Minkah Fitzpatrick. Ironically, the pick the Steelers used to draft Dotson, was one of the picks the Dolphins returned to them in the Fitzpatrick trade.  

In this game Dotson played like a seasoned veteran. On James Conner’s touchdown run, he was the only lineman to push his man across the goal line. Good thing, because that is where Conner ran to gain those 6 points. There was also more than one occasion where Dotson put his blocked player on the ground. In the passing game, Dotson did not let up a single quarterback pressure in 42 pass plays. 

On this play in the video below, I’d like to highlight the football IQ of this rookie. At the snap, the only man near him is picked up by Maurkice Pouncey. With no one left to block, I expect a rookie to stand around and do basically nothing. Instead, Dotson looks around, sees his quarterback run right, turns, and runs to lead block for him. If this was a QB run, Ben Roethlisberger easily has the first down with “Big Dot” leading the way for “Big Ben”. Instead, Roethlisberger pulls up and throws a touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson. Not only was Dotson’s understanding of the game of football great to see out of his first start, Pro Football Focus rated him the top guard in the NFL in Week 2 for pass protection. Not too shabby for Dotson’s first professional football action.

 

How well do you think Dotson did in his first start? Comment below!

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