Arguably the best all around defensive lineman in this class, Stephon Tuitt enters the 2014 NFL Draft as one of the most talented players on the board. Standing at 6 feet 5 inches and weighing 304 pounds, Tuitt flourished at every position he played along the defensive line for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
He recorded 7.5 sacks last season which was down from his 12 sacks in 2012. Tuitt was not cleared to participate in the NFL combine due the fact that needs a surgery in his foot that will take about 6-8 weeks of recovery. It was believed that he was going to have a pro-day scheduled before the surgery, but that did not happen. The lone result from NFL.com on Tuitt was his bench press reps. He put up 225 pounds 31 times, showing pretty solid strength.
NFL.com had this to say about Stephon Tuitt’s strengths,
“Looks the part — has prototypical dimensions for a five-technique. Long-armed to play off blocks. Holds his ground at the point of attack. Can stack and shed. Has excellent movement skill for a man his size. Plays on his feet. Coordinated and in control of his body. Knee bender able to flatten or redirect efficiently. Strong wrap tackler. Scheme and position versatile — played end and tackle in even and odd fronts. Notched 20.5 sacks in 28 career starts. Disrupts passing lanes”
Could you imagine if this kid turned out to be the stud he’s projected to be? He and Dontari Poe could wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks for many years to come. His versatility is whats really intriguing, seeing that he can be a force from the outside and inside of the trenches. However, NFL.com believes he needs to work on his pass rushing skills,
“Monotone edge rusher — not a quick-twitch athlete (average get-off quickness). Can play with more consistent leverage. Hip and shoulder stiffness shows when he attempts to bend the corner. Can do a better job shooting his hands with authority to jolt blockers. Needs to become a better hands fighter and develop pass-rush moves. Can play with more violence. Average intensity and relentlessness”
Tuitt is basically a tall target for offensive tackles when he tries to get up the field. He needs to work on staying lower to the ground and rounding off the edge, something that Tamba Hali has come to master over the last 4 years. The scouts also mention he needs to work on his hands and developing pass rushing skills. Hali taught Justin Houston all the same hand moves, as they have a routine they perform before every game.
Perhaps Kansas City is the perfect fit for Stephon Tuitt because of guys like Hali, Houston, and Poe. He’s projected as the 40th over all prospect and is expected to be there as late as the 31st pick. Most mocks have him either going to the Chiefs, or falling to the Denver Broncos at number 31. If Kansas City does end up picking this kid at number 23, it was truly the best player available.
I wouldn’t be upset to see Stephon Tuitt as a Chief, would you?