Kevin Dotson not ranked among NFL’s top 10 guards despite breakout season

Kevin Dotson became one of the Rams’ most valuable and impactful players last season after being acquired from the Steelers. He didn’t start right away but after Joe Noteboom went down with an injury, he stepped in at right guard and was immediately a difference-maker.

Dotson allowed just eight hits on the quarterback and four sacks all year, while also grading out extremely well in the run game; his 88.4 run-blocking grade was the second-best of any guard in the NFL.

Despite earning the second-best overall grade of any player at his position last year, Dotson wasn’t ranked anywhere near the top of PFF’s list highlighting the best guards in football. Dotson came in at No. 12, much lower than most people would have expected him to be after the season he just had.

Dotson is a prime example of a player having the potential to flourish in the right system. Moving to Sean McVay’s wide-zone scheme unlocked a different side of Dotson’s game in 2023, and his 85.2 PFF overall grade placed second only to Chris Lindstrom, while his 88.8 run-blocking grade led the NFL.

His performances in 2023 earned him a mega three-year, $48 million contract extension with the Rams in the offseason, and for good reason. Dotson allowed 20 quarterback pressures in pass protection, providing the perfect interior presence for Matthew Stafford.

Dotson will have a chance to prove he wasn’t a one-year wonder in Los Angeles last season after re-signing with the Rams in March. Now locked in with a three-year, $48 million contract, Dotson has the financial security he was looking for.

Lining up between Steve Avila and Rob Havenstein should yield great results for the Rams’ entire offensive line, potentially giving them one of the best units in football. And the guy playing left guard for L.A., Jonah Jackson, is quite the talent, too. He ranked 30th in PFF’s guard rankings as he enters his first season with the Rams.

Jackson struggled with injuries in his four years with the Lions, but he’s been a starter in every game he’s played in. The four-year veteran earned a 61.0 PFF overall grade in 12 games this past year, including four with a pass-blocking grade of at least 80.0.

There’s a lot to be excited about with the Rams’ O-line heading into 2024 and much of that starts with the two guards on the interior.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire