04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Chiefs picks: Round 3/74 - Donald Stephenson, OT, 6-6, 307, Oklahoma...A Kansas City native and long-time Chiefs fan, he's a developmental project who likely will land at right tackle to start his career. - The Sports Xchange
Stephenson was a three-star recruit out of high school, choosing Oklahoma over Missouri, Kansas and Michigan. After redshirting in 2007, he saw limited action as a reserve redshirt freshman in 2008 and didn?t see game action as a sophomore in 2009. Stephenson earned more playing time in 2010 as a junior and won the starting job, starting 10 games at left tackle. He had his best season in 2011 as a senior, starting every game at left tackle, earning All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors.
Stephenson looks the part and mirrors better than expected, but he isn?t a sudden mover and is more of a lumbering athlete ? not flashy, but consistent. He has a naturally wide base and is effective when he stays balanced, but still has some learning to do. He makes several errors, but almost all of them are correctable mistakes. Stephenson isn?t a quick-twitch player, but has enough physical skills to be at-worst a back-up with more reps at the next level ? a solid third day pick who looks like a right tackle-only prospect with a developmental future to evolve into a lineman who can compete week-in, week-out in the NFL.
Strengths: Has a naturally wide base with a thickly built frame and good length ? long legs to cover a lot of ground with his initial kick slide. Has the quickness to set up quickly with enough lateral shuffle to mirror and cover a lot of ground, showing the mobility to get to the second level. Has broad shoulders and a long set of arms to extend and keep rushers from his body. Uses blocking angles well and does a nice job gaining body positioning to shield rushers. Flashes the playing strength and natural power to get push in the run game and is stout at the point of attack ? holds his ground at initial contact. Progressively improved since earning the starting job last season and carries a degree of developmental upside.
Weaknesses: Heavy footed and lacks elite lateral ability ? will struggle with speed rushers and footwork is a work in progress. Bends too much at the waist and overextends himself ? often caught lunging and leaning. Has inconsistent get-off quickness and lacks the natural burst to maintain balance and block in space. Extends his arms, but has soft hands and doesn?t jolt rushers. Tends to leave his feet too often and whiffs on moving targets ? needs to keep his head up, butt low and stay balanced. Struggles with pre-snap awareness and needs to stay disciplined to recognize extra rushers. Will get lazy at times with his fundamentals and needs to eliminate several bad habits. Needs to develop more of a finishing attitude and overall mean streak. Still very green and has much learning to do.
NFL Comparison: Joseph Barksdale, Oakland Raiders
-- Dane Brugler