Stedman is a long arm receiver with excellent hands and nice quickness to impact at more than one receiving position for the team that drafts him. He is what I call a red zone receiver. He smells the red zone. He is the best receiver in this group on deep routes, catching the ball over his shoulder while using his body to wall off the defender covering him. Stedman shows on film the quick feet you look for in a receiver inside the red zone and because of his long arms, his catching radius is bigger than his size. Stedman has the size of a slot receiver, but the catching radius of a much larger wide receiver. He has very good run after the catch abilities and if you do not use solid tackling techniques, he will break tackles and gain extra yardage. Stedman is very smart, an excellent blocker and looks to be a valuable teammate. He runs very good routes and reads defenses, which makes him treacherous as a receiver against zone coverage. Stedman doesn't play with the explosion that other receivers in this draft have, but he does play with the consistency that most receivers in this draft do not possess. He reminds me a lot of Donald Driver selected in the 7th round of the 1999 draft by the Green Bay Packers. Donald was taller, but his long arms and great hands allowed him to play bigger than his size.
Stedman has played with a strong-armed quarterback and another receiver that required more consideration in an opponent's game plan than Stedman. He also played in a spread offense and that made it hard for teams to match-up with him because of the lack of talent on his opponent's defense. Stedman is a systems receiver. That means with the right system and quarterback, he can be very productive. It also means that it may impact how teams rate him and his value to a particular team and offensive system. This will be the key for what round Stedman will be drafted in.
Fit, fit, fit...how does Stedman fit your team? He plays bigger because of his long arms, but he doesn't have the breakaway speed, explosiveness or size you look for in a #1 WR. He is physical enough to take hits and is smart enough to beat bump and run, but lacks the true second gear to separate from his defender deep. He needs to be on the field to set up his opponent on double moves and short routes to get deep, but doesn't have the size or explosiveness to be an every down receiver. So where do you draft him and how do you use him after he is drafted? I suggest before you draft Stedman that you understand how he is going to fit into your offense or don't waste your time. He is a pure slot receiver because of his blocking skills, foot quickness and long arms that make his catching radius bigger than his size and consistency in catching the ball from any route. He can help you on punt returns because he has excellent vision and stoutness to break tackles. Anything you get after that will be gravy. If he becomes a starting wide receiver in the future that will be outstanding, but for the purposes of this draft, you draft with the information you have in front of you. That information suggests to me that Stedman's impact position is as a slot receiver/#3 receiver with special teams contributions. But you do have to admit... this kid just has that thing about him that makes you think there is more to this package. He could be the gift that keeps on giving for the lucky team that drafts him...with a strong-armed accurate quarterback that uses the spread offense with multiple receivers and has a threat of a running quarterback such as the Redskins, 49er's, Seahawks or Packers. I know, a lot of qualifiers, but I think given the right circumstances, Stedman is a solid talent with the potential to impact in a big way.
Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart