During last week’s NFL Combine, many reports and rumors surfaced about April’s NFL Draft in Kansas City. Among those was a report that University of Alabama left tackle Tyler Steen had met with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Here’s what to know about this draft prospect:
Out of high school, Steen was a three-star recruit at left tackle from Fort Lauderdale. He committed to the University of Vanderbilt, where he played both offensive and defensive tackle as a true freshman. Then he stuck at offensive tackle, where he started 33 consecutive games — the first 12 at right tackle followed by 21 on the left side. But after four seasons, Steen transferred to the University of Alabama, winning the Crimson Tide’s starting left tackle job. The conference’s coaches voted him to the second squad of the All-SEC team.
At the 2023 Senior Bowl, Steen measured 6’5 1/2” and 325 pounds, along with 33-inch arms, 10 3/4-inch hands and an 80 1/2-inch wingspan. According to Mockdraftable’s database, only 14 offensive tackle prospects have had a shorter wingspan. Of those, only two have had significant NFL starting time at tackle: Atlanta Falcons’ right tackle Kaleb McGary and Minnesota Vikings’ right tackle Brian O’Neill.
Tyler Sheen (LT, #54, Bama, met formally with KC)— Nate Christensen (@natech32) March 4, 2023
- Explosive on powerful on frontside of zone runs, good latch strength
- Comfortable on vertical set, good feet
- Eyes are terrific, picks up pressures
- Mirrors well, late hands
- Potential T/G versatility pic.twitter.com/Y11aLCRUHb
On film, Steen is a clean prospect. The first thing that stands out is his eyes. A smart tackle with good eye level, Steen can identify pressures and blitzes well. College defenses run a variety of pressures to create havoc — but Steen consistently reads these, executing protection calls to perfection.
Steen also has good footwork in his vertical pass set. He moves his feet out of his stance well and can mirror explosive pass rushers. Alabama rarely gives their tackles any help, but that is no problem for Sten; he handles himself well on an island. He’s also a good zone-blocking tackle, with good strength and mobility to kick defensive ends off the line of scrimmage.
The one concern about Steen is his lack of length. This might not matter for some tackles — but for Steen, it does. This shows up against powerful pass rushers, who are consistently able to get in his chest and push him into the pocket. When Steen leans forward to get into a pass rusher’s chest, he consistently loses to pull-through moves when his weight is over his feet. Even when his technique is fine, the lack of length hurts him.
How he fits with the Chiefs
Head coach Andy Reid prefers length from his offensive tackles, so Steen might not be a prime tackle candidate in Kansas City. But the Chiefs will like his potential for positional versatility. Given his intelligence and power, he could be a quality guard at the next level. He would be able to help out with protections and in the running game — and playing guard would mitigate concerns about his length.
In short, Steen would be a terrific swing lineman for the Chiefs. If an injury occurs, he would be an option at both guard and tackle. Right tackle Andrew Wylie has made his Kansas City career by being an option at both positions. Steen is another player who could fit that mold.
The bottom line
Steen is likely to be a Day 3 prospect — especially as a tackle. His college film is riddled with problems related to his length. That’s not just going to go away. While he could be a good swing lineman, he’s still never played guard; he would need development there.
With Wylie now a free agent, there’s a chance the Chiefs looking for a replacement. With his SEC experience (and his IQ), Steen could handle the job. After the draft, we could easily see him wearing red and gold.