It's that time of the year again. Mile High Report begins our annual 90 players in 90 days roster breakdown. Last year went fairly well, but now through August, we'll break down every player on the Denver Broncos roster.
Name: Donald Stephenson
Position: Offensive Tackle
Height: 6'6" Weight: 312
Age: 27 Experience: 5
Offensive tackle Donald Stephenson is coming off two disappointing seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he was unable to secure a full-time starting job. According to Pro Football Focus, he graded out similarly to right tackles the Denver Broncos utilized in 2015.
However, Gary Kubiak and John Elway have faith in him being the starter in Denver as he hasn’t really been challenged from the guys behind him on the depth chart through the first week of training camp.
We haven’t really heard his name much through the first ten days of training camp. He is tasked with blocked reigning Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and his backup Shaquil Barrett, which is probably the most difficult job any players has on the team right now.
Sometimes, a person just needs a change of scenery to take the next step in their professional career.
“I’m loving it. It’s really precise in how [coach Gary Kubiak] sets up the practice,” Stephenson told Gil Whiteley this week. “It really prepares you for games; it’s really helping me come along and learn the plays.”
Our own Ian Henson has attended camp extensively over the last week and he feels Stephenson is the first legitimate right tackle the Broncos have had in years. That is high praise, indeed.
His name did come up on Friday with Cameron Wolfe of The Denver Post and it was Stephenson mostly getting abused by both Miller and Barrett in practice.
Maybe it’s just the Broncos’ pass rushers, but projected starting right tackle Donald Stephenson had a rough day Friday. During team drills, outside linebackers Von Miller and Shaquil Barrett had their way with him, using power and speed moves to get to the quarterback.
Wolfe went on to say that Stephenson hasn’t had a good camp, but our eyes on the ground disagree. He had a bad day in an otherwise solid camp for Stephenson. He might be the least of the Broncos worries on the offensive line right now.
When asked about how it has been since joining the Broncos, Stephenson also told Whiteley how easy it has been adjusting to his new teammates.
“Of course, the offensive line, I see them every day all day,” Stephenson said. “Matt’s [Paradis] really helping me come along. Russ [Russell Okung] is a six-, seven-year vet and he’s really helping me tune up my game, I’m learning a lot from him. As soon as I got here I felt like I was at home; everybody made me feel like family. I’m having fun. I’m loving it.”
The fact that he has had one really bad day at camp, so far, while lining up to block the likes of Von Miller and Shaquil Barrett is definitely something. In a way, he is what the Broncos brass had hoped they had when they drafted Ty Sambrailo. Instead, Sambrailo may have become dispensable. A fact that may have been proven by Ty’s move to the guard position.
Stephenson is a lock to make the final 53-man roster and barring injury, should be the starter at right tackle for the 2016 season.