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Film Room: Steelers Kevin Dotson vs. Alabama’s Quinnen Williams and Raekwon Davis

That time the Steelers 4th round pick faced the Alabama defensive line.

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 22 UL Lafayette at Texas State Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the biggest negatives commonly asserted about Kevin Dotson was that he was dominating Sun Belt conference defensive lineman. It’s not hard to find reports stating that he didn’t face top competition. For the most part that is true. In 2018 Kevin Dotson and the Ragin’ Cajuns faced the #1 team in the nation, the Alabama Crimson Tide, and Dotson would be matched up against 2018 3rd overall pick Quinnen Williams (#92 in red) and 2019 2nd round pick Raekwon Davis (#99 in red) throughout the game.

I’m going to list the defensive player he blocks for each clip, as they are easier to pick out on film than offensive lineman.

Double teams

Kevin Dotson (#75) is the RG, (toward the bottom of the screen) he and #50 double team Raekwon Davis (DT to the bottom of the screen, second from bottom on the DL) to the ground.

A well executed double team puts Davis on the ground and out of the play.

The next double team shows one of Dotson’s weaknesses, as he sometimes gets too much forward lean and gets off balance. Dotson at RG, blocks the DT to the bottom of the screen.

This time it ends with Dotson on the ground.

When Alabama put in their depth players the Cajuns started running on them with ease. Dotson again the RG, blocks the DT to the bottom of the screen.

Look at the center of the Crimson Tide DL and how fast they get driven back 4 yards. Johnny Dwight (#95) is a fringe NFL player currently with the Houston Texans, and Kevin Dotson drives straight through him into the linebackers. Quinnen Williams and Raekwon Davis would be put back out for almost all of the second quarter and well into the third quarter.

1 v. 1 run blocking

While the Ragin’ Cajuns scheme had Dotson double teaming quite a bit, he also did well when he was on his own. This play uses an unbalanced line, Kevin Dotson is lined up in the middle of the offensive line, and will block #92 the right DT (top middle DL)

That’s 2019 3rd overall pick Quinnen Williams (who helped bump the NYJ run defense from bottom 10 in 2018 to 2nd best in 2019) getting driven back 4 yards. When Dotson lands his punch and gets his hands set inside he moves people.

Williams let’s Dotson know he didn’t appreciate it on the next play, same locations for both.

This time Quinnen Williams gets his punch in first, Dotson just absorbs it and starts walking Williams backward before trying to switch to blocking him behind the play. This is more impressive than the previous one to me, because he loses the first contact to a monster of a DT but doesn’t lose the battle.

On this play the Cajuns pull their LG and LT, Kevin Dotson needs to seal Raekwon Davis (#99) out of the run lane. Dotson is right above the center, Davis is the top middle DT.

You can see Dotson and Davis stay on the line of scrimmage and Dotson moves him out of the run lane. Raekwon Davis didn’t record many wins against Dotson at all in this game, and ended up staying out on the field late in the game.

Pass Blocking

Dotson is the guard to the bottom of the screen, he blocks Davis, the bottom DT

Alabama’s #33 comes on a stunt, runs into Dotson and Raekwon Davis is able to get past him as the tackle provides no help on the stunt. You can see the effort Dotson puts in to get back and keep Davis off his QB. Really like the effort there.

This play involves a full slide to the left. Dotson is again the RG (second lineman from the bottom).

This is where Dotson is at his best in pass protection, when he’s in the middle of a wall. He’s a bit more vulnerable on his own in space, but in tighter spaces he’s a beast.

Wrap up

The Ragin’ Cajuns ran for 200 yards against the Crimson Tide, the most they gave up in 2018 and 5th most of the decade. Raekwon Davis, Isaiah Buggs (#49) Johnny Dwight and Quinnen Williams combined for 40 Tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks in 2018, none of those were against the Ragin’ Cajuns, the only team to hold those 4 without a tackle for loss or a sack in 2018. That says a lot about the level of coaching and the players on that line.

Kevin Dotson didn’t get a lot of shots at future NFL DTs, but when he did he got the better of them. He was one of the standouts at the East-West shrine game, where he got the better of pretty much everyone.

Kevin Dotson is a mauler at Guard, a Ramon Foster clone, and from his film he looks NFL ready. I would not be surprised at all to see him end up starting at some point this season, especially if Chuks Okorafor and Zach Banner struggle at RT. The one concern I have is that he always played RG, starting there for 52 games straight. He’s not going to take that spot from David DeCastro. He did play LG at the Shrine game, but it may take some time for him to be able to start at LG in the NFL.