With roster cuts on the horizon to get to the mandatory 53-man mark in two days, the Los Angeles Rams still found a way to add to their 2023 roster on the evening of Sunday, August 27.
With general manager Les Snead and the front office behind the scenes, the Rams sent a 2024 fourth rounder and 2025 fifth round selection to the Steelers in exchange for the veteran interior offensive lineman. L.A. additionally gets a 2024 fifth round pick and a 2025 sixth rounder.
What Type of Player is Dotson?
On the surface, this comes off as a depth move in the offensive line room. But, for a unit that Ram fans remember struggled with an influx of injuries and inconsistency, it’s a transaction the Rams needed.
Pre-draft, Dotson was lauded for his smarts and playing with a fundamentally sound style during his University of Louisiana days. But he was additionally described as a “powerful man” when it came to his blocking.
“Backup-caliber guard with the football intelligence, technique and run-blocking ability for eventual starter consideration in the right circumstance. Dotson is a powerful man with experience blocking in zone, gap and power schemes,” nfl.com draft expert Lance Zierlein wrote in his draft evaluation.
The fact that he thrived in a zone and gap offense already makes him appealing for the Rams given their own past hitting defenses with zone plays. But, Zierlein used the word “stiff” in describing one of Dotson’s flaws.
“He’s a little stiff-kneed with sluggish change of direction so slanting fronts and athletic pass rushers could create inconsistencies in his performance,” Zierlein said. “What he can do well outweighs the concerns and he could hear his name called on Day 3.”
Sure enough, Dotson was a day three pickup by the Steelers. He eventually became a 17-game starter last season for Pittsburgh as the left guard. Pro Football Focus awarded him with a 65.4 overall grade, but 77.6 as a pass blocker. He surrendered four sacks total his side — but none in the last eight games.
Does This Move Make Sense for Both Sides?
Outside of the Rams adding depth, this became a move considered needed on Dotson’s and the Steelers’ end.
For starters, Dotson began to lose ground in his starting status per ESPN NFL reporter Brooke Pryor due to the arrival of offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo via the Philadelphia Eagles.
Plus, per Rams Insider Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, the move is for depth purposes.
“Even though Dotson has 30 games worth of starting experience for the Steelers, including 17 games last season, I’m told Los Angeles considers this to be a depth move for their offensive line. Dotson has played some at both guard spots,” Rodrigue said.
Meanwhile, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic helped reiterate that Dotson began to get lost in the trench shuffle.
“With Isaac Seumalo signed in free agency to start at left guard, Nate Herbig brought in as a free agent in March to play swing guard and Dotson being in the final year of his rookie deal and set to earn $2.75 million, it was pretty much an expected move,” Kaboly said.
With Logan Bruss moving over to right tackle, it created one more opening to fill a need for the Rams.