The Atlanta Falcons need help at the Left Tackle position, and they could find it in the person of Oklahoma Sooner Offensive tackle Donald Stephenson.
There is almost no doubt that Stephenson is a better prospect at this stage than Matt McCants, but he does not have the same potential to add size and strength that the other does. However, he is still 6’5″, 312 lbs, has good enough athleticism to hold up against speed rushers on the edge, and also the size and strength to anchor against the power ‘bull’ rush. Is definitely above average in pass protection. He also has good size and speed to run-block, and pull on specific run plays.
There are some questions as to his inconsistent footwork. At times Stephenson won’t set up wide enough to block the edge rusher, or too deep to effectively block the power-rusher. The same things happens in run-blocking where at times he gets caught flat-footed or off balance, but there is no doubt that he has the ability to balance properly and use proper footwork against elite competition and in the NFL, it is just a matter of him consistently doing so.
If Stephenson were taken in this years draft, I would expect him to go in the 3rd round. He is listed as the 86th best overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. I don’t think that’s too far off. However, using a 3rd rounder seems so much significant this year due to the lack of a 1st and 4th round picks. Stephenson may not be ready initially this season, but with new offensive line coach Pat Hill, I think Stephenson could be a big hit for the Falcons. He may not be a pro-bowler, but then again he may. He certainly has the potential to be better than a tandem of Will Svitek and Sam Baker.