The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2023 offseason practices concluded in the middle of June and next up is their annual training camp, which gets underway in late July at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe. Ahead of training camp, we will preview the team’s offseason roster three players at a time for you as part of a 30-post series. This Steelers roster preview, which includes outlooks for every player, will be done alphabetically by last name to make it easy to follow.
The next three players we will preview ahead of Steelers 2023 training camp are Duke Dawson, Kevin Dotson, and William Dunkle.
CB Duke Dawson: The 2022 regular season started with Dawson looking for a home as he was released by the Carolina Panthers in late August. Dawson ultimately was signed to the Steelers’ practice squad in October, and he remained a member of that unit for the rest of the season. Dawson, a slightly undersized cornerback at 5105, who is best suited to play in the slot, has bounced around several NFL teams since being selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.
Dawson has played in 26 regular season NFL games and a total of 414 defensive snaps with 182 more coming on special teams. He has recorded 27 total tackles, two defensed passes and one fumble recovery in his NFL career.
Outlook: Ahead of the Steelers’ 2023 training camp getting underway, Dawson figures to get a fair shot at competing for 53-man roster spot. The Steelers’ slot cornerback position isn’t overly deep so unless another veteran is added, Dawson figures to get a long look the remainder of the offseason. He’s also logged some special teams snaps during his career, so if he can excel in that phase of the game during the preseason games, he could help his chances when it comes to making the Week 1 53-man roster.
At worst, Dawson could ultimately start the 2023 regular season on the Steelers’ practice squad. He should be a fun player to watch do battle during training camp and the preseason, mainly due to his draft pedigree and NFL experience.
G Kevin Dotson: Thanks to the NFL’s Proven Performance Escalator, Dotson, who was selected by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Louisiana-Lafayette, is slated to earn $2.743 million in 2023. Last season, Dotson was the Steelers’ starting left guard and he played every offensive snap for the team after missing quite a bit of time in 2021 with an ankle injury.
The biggest knock on Dotson from 2022 was his penalty count, a team-high 12 of them. He also allowed four sacks, four quarterback hits and eight hurries in 2022 on his way to registering a pass blocking grade of 77.6 from Pro Football Focus, which was tops for any member of the Steelers’ offensive line. His overall PFF blocking grade was 65.4, however.
Outlook: It’s certainly going to be interesting to see what transpires with Dotson the rest of the summer. Barring injuries, he’s slated to compete for a backup guard spot as things sit here in early July. He’s played both guard spots during his NFL career so at least he has position flexibility going for him in addition to quite a bit of playing time experience in his first three NFL seasons.
Could Dotson wind up being traded ahead of Week 1? That certainly seems plausible but only if the Steelers’ offensive line can exit training camp and the preseason without significant injuries. Should Dotson wind up sticking with the Steelers come Week 1, it will be interesting to see if he gets a helmet as an active player against the San Francisco 49ers.
G William Dunkle: After being signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent out of San Diego State in 2022, Dunkle ultimately started last season on the Steelers’ practice squad. To Dunkle’s credit, he managed to stay on the Steelers’ practice squad throughout the 2022 season, which is a huge accomplishment overall. Even so, he failed to see any time on the 53-man roster in 2022 and thus is still looking to play his first official NFL snap. Of the 43 preseason snaps that Dunkle played as a rookie in 2022, all of them came at right guard, his primary position in college.
Outlook: Dunkle’s 53-man roster chances come Week 1 of the 2023 regular season are not great. After all, the Steelers made it a priority to upgrade their offensive line this offseason. While Dunkle is likely to stay on the 90-man roster throughout the summer, his best shot at remaining in Pittsburgh past the final round of roster cuts likely includes being a practice squad candidate once again. He figures to get some moderate playing time during the 2023 preseason and likely at right guard.
Previous Posts In This Series:
90 In 30: Steelers 2023 Training Camp Preview Series: Montravius Adams, Spencer Anderson, Calvin Austin III
90 In 30: Steelers 2023 Training Camp Preview Series: Luq Barcoo, Keeanu Benton, Chris Boswell
90 In 30: Steelers 2023 Training Camp Preview Series: Miles Boykin, Ja’Marcus Bradley, Hakeem Butler
90 In 30: Steelers 2023 Training Camp Preview Series: Jordan Byrd, Dan Chisena, Le’Raven Clark
90 In 30: Steelers 2023 Training Camp Preview Series: Mason Cole, Dylan Cook, James Daniels