KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The collective NFL experience of their four offensive-line backups is two games, a statistic that obviously made the Chiefs uneasy.
They moved to bolster their line depth Friday night by selecting Jeff Allen of Illinois in the second round and Donald Stephenson of Oklahoma in the third round. The 6-foot-4, 306-pound Allen was a four-year starter at tackle in college, but played guard at the Senior Bowl and that is probably the position he will be asked to play in Kansas City.
Allen, the 44th overall selection, was introduced by former Chiefs guard Will Shields.
“They see me as a guy that can come in as a versatile guy that can play any (position) on the line,” Allen said. “I think I’m comfortable enough to play (guard) at a high level. The difference at guard is you have to be less patient. I learned that at the Senior Bowl, and I just want to continue to get better at that position as well.”
Stephenson, 6-6 and 307 pounds, went to Blue Springs (Mo.) High School before moving on to Oklahoma. He worked out for the Chiefs at their practice facility earlier this month.
“I’m speechless,” Stephenson said. “I love the Chiefs. I’ve always loved them. Having the chance to play in my hometown is huge.”
The starting offensive line is set with tackles Branden Albert and Eric Winston, guards Ryan Lilja and Jon Asamoah and center Rodney Hudson. But among the four reserves under contract, all were undrafted when they came out of college.
Two of last season’s starters, center Casey Wiegmann and right tackle Barry Richardson, are unrestricted free agents. Wiegmann will probably retire.
So Allen would be the Chiefs’ top reserve at guard and Stephenson at tackle. Longer term, he could eventually be the replacement for Lilja, who had a down season in 2011 and is in the final year of his contract.
“I see myself as a guy who can play multiple positions on the line,” Allen said.
He was a college teammate of Asamoah’s at Illinois but said he was surprised to be drafted by the Chiefs.
“They weren’t one of the teams I was thinking was going to pick me, but it’s great,” he said. “I’m happy to be a Chief. It’s an exciting time for me.”
Stephenson’s role long term could depend on whether the Chiefs are successful in re-signing Albert, their left tackle. His contract is up after next year.
“I just want to come in and work hard and find me a way to get on the field and help this team out,” Stephenson said.
The draft concludes today with the final four rounds. The Chiefs have one pick in each round except two in the seventh. They acquired the extra pick from New England in the 2010 trade that sent safety Jarrad Page to the Patriots.