Oct 27, 2012; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Anthony Steen (61) prepares to block during the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Pre-Season Breakdown - Anthony Steen, OG Alabama

The 2012 Alabama offensive line is arguably one of the best ever to be put together.  Three of them (Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker, and Barrett Jones) were selected in the NFL Draft and Cyrus Kouandjio is a highly rated left tackle.  The member of the line that has gotten the least attention has been their right guard, Anthony Steen.  Steen may not be at the level of some of his former Tide teammates, but he is a talented prospect in his own right.  With both players that flanked Steen in 2012 gone, he will have to step up his play and have a chance to show off just how good he can be.

Steen has the physical skills and build combined with the technique and awareness to be successful both in his senior year but also in the NFL and appears to be a top 100 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, but could further improve his stock this year if he can continue developing and show more of a mean streak.

Vitals & Build

Steen is listed at 6’3” 309lbs with a good build for the position.  While he can and will continue adding muscle and probably end up at 315lbs by the time he is drafted, he moves well and should not lose any of his athleticism with the added bulk.  Steen appears to have good functional strength for the position, but may be relatively close to being maxed out physically.  Once he gets up to about 315lbs, he is only going to really be refining what he already has, which is perfectly fine given what he is able to do.

Athleticism

Steen moves well for the position and is light on his feet.  He is able to work laterally in space as well as pull and get to the second level effectively.  Steen is not elite in any particular category as an athlete, but the overall package is well within the range of what a team would want with his feet, body control, and fluidity.

Run Blocking

Steen is a positional run blocker who uses good angles and technique to do the job.  He appears to have good initial pop and strength but is content to turn a guy or stay in the way to secure the run block.  Steen has the strength to create a hole and drive opponents off the ball, especially in a double team, but he does not finish opponents off as often as he could and does not show much of a mean streak to this point, so he is an effective blocker, but he is not someone who piles up pancakes to this point in his career.

After getting out of his stance cleanly, Steen fires off the ball and into his opponent with some force while working his feet and body into the right angle to position his body between the defender and the ball carrier.  If he can turn the opponent, he will go that route whenever possible to really clear a running lane for the ball carrier and not force them to go around him, which was especially effective with a runner like Eddie Lacy last year.  Occasionally, he will fall off blocks and can get ahead of himself that enables opponents to throw him off and gain an angle, but for the most part, he is someone who can be counted on to do his assignment.

Steen has shown he can pull effectively easily and land blocks in those situations.  He has also demonstrated the ability to get to the second level and land blocks on moving targets with good fundamental technique, but has had some issues keeping his feet at times.

Steen will occasionally get himself in trouble by lunging out of his stance at an opposing defensive tackle, who will use their lateral quickness to either swim or simply step out of the way and use Steen’s momentum against him and simply shove his head to the ground and attack the hole Steen created by lunging and missing.

Pass Protection

The first thing that jumps out about Steen in pass protection is his patience.  He never seems to be out of control and rarely gets caught out of position, does not get caught by surprise with blitzes or stunts, and looks comfortable operating in space.  Steen seems to understand that while there is not a guy in front of him immediately, that usually means that someone is coming and to stay at home.  When he has looked around and found no threat coming, he will then find someone that can use help and go secure a block. He has also shown the ability to move from one block to another and diagnosing the more significant threat.

Steen has solid footwork and is able to move comfortably without getting caught with his feet in the air, so he can hold his ground.  For the most part, he does a good job of sitting down, anchoring and holding his ground, but he can adjust and re-anchor to avoid getting mauled.  He will give up ground, but the times he gets beaten down are few and far between, making him a reliable blocker who is an excellent pass protector.  When he feels he might be getting overwhelmed with power, he will look for the first opportunity to turn them, get them off balance, and work them wide of the quarterback.

Steen also has good hand use and keeps working them to maintain control of the opponent and keeping him out of his body.  Because of his ability to use his feet to stay in front of the opponent, his hands are mostly just to keep them corralled in front of him, staying in their trunk and preventing them from gaining too much momentum.

Steen is able to sell a screen and has the athleticism to get in position to block for the receiver on the left side of the field from the right guard spot, which further demonstrates his athleticism and range.

Technique

Steen is a knee-bender that keeps a straight back and good position.  The only issue he runs into is when he overextends, but beyond that, he stays balanced and under control to easily be able to stay in front and be an effective blocker.

His hands are always active and he does a good job of using them to keep opponents out of his body but he keeps his hands in the trunk for the most part and keeps punching rather than just latching onto an opponent that can inadvertently result in holding when he is caught by surprise.  Steen was the least penalized player on the Alabama offensive line last year.

Footwork

Steen is good on his feet and is able to pull and get to the second level.  He also just does a great job of maintaining his balance and working laterally.  Steen is rarely forced to have his feet anywhere other than shoulder width apart, so he is always working from a good position in how he takes on blocks both in the running game and pass protection.

System Fit

To this point, Steen has played right guard for Alabama but he might be a better fit at left guard in the NFL, but appears to have the skills to play both spots.  He is probably not going to be a sought after guy for teams looking to overpower teams based on what he has done to this point in his career, but for teams who are looking for a guard that take good angles and use fundamentals, Steen is a good prospect.  He appears to have the ability to start in the NFL but should at least be valuable depth that can play both spots.

It is worth noting that Steen has experience snapping, so if he can also prove to be an option at center even if it just as depth, that makes him an extremely attractive player.  Being a player that can play at both guard spots is good, but being viable player at any of the interior spots is ideal for offensive line depth and they can stick around the league for quite a while.

Schedule

Sat, Aug. 31 vs. Virginia Tech
Sat, Sept. 14 at Texas A&M
Sat, Sept. 21 vs. Colorado State
Sat, Sept. 28 vs. Ole Miss
Sat, Oct. 5 vs. Georgia State
Sat, Oct. 12 at Kentucky
Sat, Oct. 19 vs. Arkansas
Sat, Oct. 26 vs. Tennessee
Sat, Nov. 9 vs. LSU
Sat, Nov. 16 at Mississippi State
Sat, Nov. 23 vs. Chattanooga
Sat, Nov. 30 at Auburn

Notable Games

The three biggest games in terms of individual matchups could all come in a four week period.  Because of the way defenses will switch their defensive tackles around depending on where they think they can get an advantage, Steen could face these opponents a ton or little if at all.  Nevertheless, the game on the road against Kentucky could force Steen to face off against Donte Rumph.  After a game with Arkansas, the Tide play Tennessee and their stud nose tackle, Daniel McCullers and then LSU and Anthony Johnson.  Both games are at home, but these could be matchups that draw a large amount of attention in determining how highly Steen will be ranked.

NFL Comparison

Steen’s style and size are similar to that of Denver Broncos guard Zane Beadle.  The former Ute is just a good, reliable offensive lineman that many people outside of the Bronco fan base are not aware of, but is an integral part of their offense.  Even on a team like Alabama where their offensive linemen are celebrities, Steen has been a talented, but relatively anonymous player.

Draft Projection

Steen looks the part of a top 100 player that could be able to come in and compete for a starting job, but could also be a versatile backup, especially if he can contribute at center.  In addition to bringing more of a mean streak and continuing to improve his strength, Steen needs to avoid getting caught lunging and overextending in the running game and simply prove how talented he is without Jones and Fluker playing next to him.  Steen could raise his stock higher, but it may not happen until he gets to the postseason All-Star games and likely the Senior Bowl, when he will have the opportunity to shine as an individual and perhaps work himself into the fringe of the second and third round.

Tags: 2014 Mock Draft 2014 NFL Draft Alabama Crimson Tide Football Anthony Steen Offensive Guards

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