5 breakout stars to watch for Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021

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PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 20: Alejandro Villanueva #78, Chukwuma Okorafor #76 and Kevin Dotson #69 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during the game against the Denver Broncosat Heinz Field on September 20, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Despite winning the AFC North in 2020, Mike Tomlin’s team comes into this year with plenty of question marks off last year’s late fade.

It’s a team that collapsed down the stretch for a third straight year. And the Pittsburgh Steelers entered the 2021 offseason with major cap issues and watched a number of quality players either ditch for greener pastures or be given their walking papers. But that doesn’t mean the reigning AFC North champions don’t have their share of performers that still bear watching.

So which players for the team led by Mike Tomlin – who just inked a three-year contract extension – are primed for showings that will garner plenty of attention?

5. G Kevin Dotson

The team’s offensive line struggled in 2019 and really had its issues this past season. There will be some new looks on this unit as nine-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey has retired and two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Alejandro Villanueva remains an unrestricted free agent.

Last April, general manager Kevin Colbert used a fourth-round draft choice on Louisiana guard Kevin Dotson and he showed flashes of being a reliable performer. He played in 14 games (including playoffs), made four starts and earned a tremendous grade from Pro Football Focus (subscription required) in terms of pass protection. Run blocking was a different story and that’s where the improvement will come as the team must focus more on the ground game.

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