With their second 2nd round pick, number 53rd overall, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected CB MJ Stewart from NC State. Stewart is a 5’11” 200lb corner that is physical but projects as a slot corner.
Stewart played four years at North Carolina, with 41 career pass breakups and 6 interceptions.
What They’re Saying
Luke Easterling of draftwire.com describes him, “A stout cover man with a well-rounded skill set, Stewart was one of this year’s biggest winners at Senior Bowl practices. His physical style of play will impress teams who prefer to play press-man coverage, but a deep corner class could make him a bargain in the middle rounds.”
Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds says, “Stewart has been UNC’s starting cornerback for the last two season, but really he’s a player who could play safety or cornerback at the next level. He’s a physical player who can really stick with receivers coming out of press and close coverage. He’s not the most fluid player when it comes to changing direction, but he’s savvy with his contact with receivers to where it doesn’t hurt him much. Smart, physical corner. He had 31 passes defended in three seasons.”
Pro Football Focus opines, “More of a matchup weapon on defense than a true, pure cornerback, Stewart’s NFL future may lie as a kind of hybrid player on defense. The good news is those players are in demand at the moment and his ability to cover the slot as well as match up with receiving weapons like backs and tight ends in the passing game will push his value up. He also played and graded well at the Senior Bowl, which is always a plus as teams see players against elite competition.”
NFL.com says, “Stewart is well-built and very physical in both his coverage and his run support. He’s athletic enough to handle man coverage duties from a variety of techniques whether playing outside or inside and he has the instincts, ball skills and toughness to transition to safety if need be. Stewart can be deployed in a variety of positions in the secondary which should lend itself to early playing time for him with a starter’s role in his future..”
This is one of those head scratchers for Jason Licht. Of course, I doubted his selection of Kendall Beckwith and Justin Evans last year, so what do I know. I would have rather had Isaiah Oliver from Colorado or Donte Jackson from LSU. I