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Of Combines and Correlations – Part 3


For the benefit of those of who are new to this multi-installment analysis of the Chiefs 2012 draft picks, please link back to Part 1 and Part 2 of this series to get up to speed on what this is all about. For the benefit of those of you who have been tuning in to this column the past couple of weeks (I see that we are now in the tens of thousands hit-wise; and you know who you are),  I jump straight to the chase. Up for review this week, Chiefs’ 3rd round pick of the 2012 draft, the organically & locally produced OT Donald Stephenson.

I guess I should first preface this review of Stephenson by pointing out that many Chiefs’ fans struggled to understand the need for, much less the wisdom of, picking a lineman after already spending the first two picks on linemen. I’d say the general/initial consensus about the drafting of  Stephenson was . . . not sexy. That said, let’s examine whether, if at all, Stephenson’s Combine performance statistically projects success for him as an NFL Tackle and see whether that changes anyone’s opinion about the pick.

Joe Lander’s overall assessment for the Offensive Tackle position can summarized by saying that an EPA in the 40 yard dash plus 4 more EPAs on top of that gives an OT prospect the best statistical recipe for NFL success at that position. Landers’ further notes that about 2/3rds of starting OT’s in his data set scored on EPA on the 40 yard dash.

Landers’ OT peer averages and 1st teamer EPA percentages:

Short Shuttle: 4.74 sec; 37% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Three Cone: 7.83 sec; 44% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Vertical Jump: 29.24”; 46% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Broad Jump: 102”; 49% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Forty yard dash: 5.27 sec; 66% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Bench Reps: 24.35; 37% of 1st teamers scored an EPA

Donald Stephenson’s (6’5″, 312 lbs) Combine Results:

Short Shuttle: 4.78 sec

Three Cone: 7.52 sec; EPA

Vertical Jump: 35.5”; EPA (whoa, some serious ups)

Broad Jump: 114”; EPA (dang son!) 

Forty yard dash: 4.94 sec; EPA (best time among all OTs at the combine)

Bench Reps: 19

One of the knocks on Stephenson coming into the draft was that he lacked elite strength. Here we seem to see that criticism show up in his rather lowish bench reps score. Aside from that, when he did perform strongly in an attribute test, he performed very strongly, but alas, came up .05 secs short (in the short shuttle) from achieving Landers’ ideal of 5 EPAs.  In other words, he was a mere 1/20 sec away from statistical glory.

The more I consider this pick, the more I like it. I feel that Stephenson just needs better technique and some after hours work in the gym. He has great frame for playing the position, tremendous speed and great athleticism to go with – give him a year under his belt and I can see Stephenson becoming a regular contributor to the rotation and perhaps even dominant addition for our ZBS.

Coming into this draft, the Chiefs were talent thin at OT tackle depth. We lose either Branden Albert or Eric Winston and we’re in a world of hurt once again. Stephenson comes to us with major conference experience playing both the right and left side, and, as a third round pick up seems to me to be both a great value and a great fit for our system. In other words, I have to admit this pick has grown on me; I think Stephenson’s display of near perfect athleticism at the combine further underscores what I feel this guy will ultimately bring to the success of our offense.

That’s my Double Take.

What’s your take Addicts?