Steelers impressive underdog should get a shot to start at left guard

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard John Leglue (77). Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard John Leglue (77). Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

There has been a debate between Kevin Dotson and Kendrick Green all summer, but should an impressive underdog get a chance to start at left guard for Steelers?

The back-and-forth debate between Kevin Dotson and Kedrick Green is growing quite tiresome to me, quite honestly. Throughout training camp the Pittsburgh Steelers have been splitting starting reps every day between these two players — waiting for one to emerge as the starting left guard for Week 1 of the regular season.

Personally, I never saw much of a debate, to begin with. I’ve always thought that Dotson was a better option as the starting guard thanks to his superior size and strength. Combine this with the fact that he was thoroughly impressive when healthy as a rookie, and it looks like this decision should be a no-brainer by Mike Tomlin and the coaching staff.

Sadly, Dotson can’t seem to stay healthy. The former fourth-round pick missed the entire second half of the 2021 season with a severe high-ankle sprain. Recently in training camp, Dotson yet again injured his ankle and was forced to miss some practice time as well as the team’s first preseason performance against the Seahawks.

In his absence, Kedrick Green (expectedly) struggled to anchor against bigger and stronger defensive linemen. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of trying to move Green back to guard, as he is simply bite-sized for the position. Still, it’s been extremely hard for Pittsburgh to count on either one of these players at the moment.

Steelers should give an underdog a chance as starting LG

This might not be a popular opinion, but I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen from John Leglue early in his NFL career. Leglue went undrafted out of Tulane in 2019. After two years of hard work, he finally saw his first NFL action with the Steelers last season when he started five games in 6 appearances with the team in 2021.

Though Leglue didn’t grade out particularly well overall, I think he was solid in his first true NFL action, and his pass-block grade ranked 28th among guards in the NFL in 2021, via Pro Football Focus. So far at Steelers training camp, I think Leglue has done solid work and hasn’t had any noticeable flaws that could get him killed on the football field.

In his first preseason game, Leglue was one of my biggest risers. He looked like a man among boys as he easily handled defensive linemen in front of him to churn out the best grade on the evening among Steelers offensive linemen. In fact, Leglue finished with the second-highest grade on the entire team, behind only standout wide receiver, George Pickens.

Leglue has some advantages in his favor as well. In addition to possessing that underdog mentality that is sure to keep him around the league, the former small-school standout is listed at 6’7” and 310 pounds. While this can sometimes work against him in terms of leverage, his length and power easily show up on film.

Trending. Is the Steelers answer at left guard still sitting in free agency?. light

I can’t say for sure that John Leglue would be a better option than Kevin Dotson, but at least he is healthy and coming off a very impressive first preseason game. Perhaps the Steelers should allow the underdog to throw his hat in the ring for a chance to be the starting left guard this year. Leglue certainly gives me some Matt Feiler vibes and I would be interested to see what he could do with one more chance.