Chiefs’ Donald Stephenson On How To Improve


Sept. 16, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tackle Donald Stephenson (79) during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Chiefs 35 to 17. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs selected T Donald Stephenson in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft to help solidify the depth along the team’s offensive line. Stephenson was able to see a fair few snaps in 2012 and though Stephenson was not terrible, he wasn’t great either.

In short, he played like a rookie third round pick.

Stephenson played 329 snaps as a rookie for the Chiefs. Pro Football Focus graded him at a -6.6 on the season. Stephenson was slightly above average as a run blocker at +2.5 but struggled in pass defense with a -7.2 mark. He was responsible for nine QB hurries, seven QB hits and five sacks.

Stephenson recently stopped by The Drive 610 Sports Radio to talk about the upcoming season. He was asked about what he wanted to improve upon from 2012 to 2013.

“With me, it was knowing my place on the team,” said Stephenson. “Last year, I kind of struggled with that a little bit. I did some things right but that was one of those things I felt I needed to work on after last season. This year during the offseason, I’ve stayed in my notes and my playbook.That way, when I’m on the field, there’s no doubt about what I’m doing. Play a lot faster. I guess that’s the main thing, is playing faster. Getting used to the speed in the NFL. It’s a lot faster than college. That should help me out this year, too.”

Stephenson could be a very important swing man for the Chiefs’ offensive line. With Branden Albert at LT and Eric Fisher set to start at RT, Stephenson will likely serve as the primary backup to both spots. Should there be an injury or should one of the starters need a break, it will be Stephenson that has to step up.

Andy Reid highlighted just how useful he thought Stephenson would be during OTA practices earlier this summer.

We’re lucky we have Donald Stephenson here to be able to swing back and forth, and he can also play guard for us,” said Reid. “So he got reps everywhere. You need all of them, that’s an important position. But it was good to see those two, that was a good thing.”

“We’ve got some flexibility,” Reid said. “Donald gives us a little flexibility. (Chiefs OL Geoff) Schwartz gives you flexibility inside. The guys that are in there are doing a nice job with what they’re presented with. That seems like a close knit group, and they have to be. You’ve seen that they have that in them. They’ve welcomed the new guys in. It seems like they’re working hard there.”