2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Alabama WR ArDarius Stewart

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

ArDarius Stewart/ Alabama WR – 5’11” 204 lbs.

The Good:

– Solid hands catcher that rarely uses his body to secure the ball
– Good vision and sense of when defense is going to make contact
– Seems to enjoy contact and would rather plow thru defender than avoid
– Can get off the line under press coverage with good footwork and nice jab
– Willing blocker who can seal opponents and continue holding block until runner has gone by
– Can run screens and jet sweeps that use his wiggle in tight spaces well
– Nice catch radius along with ability to time jumps well to snare pigskin at highest point

The Bad:

– Already 23 years old, will turn 24 in December
– More quick than fast, will not outrun many NFL defensive backs
– Sometimes gets carried away blocking, getting overly aggressive
– Limited route tree, but perhaps more by team design and QB situation
– Has a bad tendency to run east and west, instead of north and south to gain yardage
– 11 drops in the last 2 years and has some issues with contested throws

Bio:

– Consensus 4 star recruit
– Birmingham Player of the Year in high school
– Finished his high school career scoring 138 touchdowns as a QB and S
– Red-shirted his 2013 freshman season
– Finished his college career with 33 games played, 129 receptions for 1713 yards (13.3 yard average) and 12 touchdowns, 13 rushes for 82 yards (6.3 yard average), along with 10 kickoff returns for 191 yards (19.1 yard average) and went 2 for 2 on passing attempts for 36 yards (18 yard average)
– Didn’t play in 3 games his redshirt junior year: 2 due to a left knee injury and 1 due to a violation of team rules per HC Saban
– Being a father of 2 children helped make him decide to declare early

Tape Breakdown:

Lined up wide right, the receiver gets a free release off the line at the snap. He hand fights with the corner, getting pushed out of bounds, but continues to track the ball without breaking concentration. Stewart adjusts his route to catch the ball in the end zone while the corner and safety look on.

The split end gets sent in motion and handed the ball on a nicely developed jet sweep where he out quicks the DE to the corner. #13 reads his blocks, finds a seam, and explodes into the open field. The former Crimson Tide member started running out of real estate and got tripped up after a nice rushing gain!

Split out on the right, the receiver comes out and attacks the middle of the field. He then comes back to block for his RB that catches a pass in the flats. Stewart takes the defender out with a block using his shoulder pad across the DBs thigh pad to spring #34 on his way to the end zone. #13 adds so much to a running game.

The receiver, split out on the right, gets a free release then runs a quick curl. Stewart catches the ball and protects himself while falling forward for an 11-yard gain. This shows his willingness to attack the pigskin and take the big hit as well fighting for additional yardage.

This is a hard nosed receiver who doesn’t mind mixing it up as blocker or catching the ball. He can make defenders miss in space and will occasionally get behind the defense. His speed doesn’t threaten anyone, but can make a lot of contested catches. The former high school quarterback needs to improve his route running, and decrease his number of drops. I see Stewart as a lesser Hines Ward which could help the Steelers out both in the run and passing games. The problem is that Stewart might go too early for the athlete that he is in the 2nd round, but would be a steal in the 4th.

Projection: Second Day or early Third Day

Games Watched: vs. USC, Vs. Mississippi State, vs. Auburn

  • WreckIess

    I’m actually really surprised it too this long until he was brought up, but if there’s going to be a mid round WR taken I want it to be him.

  • Steelers12

    I like him but i think he will be too high to get with Bryant coming back. I wish we would trade back and pick up two extra picks in the 3rd and 4th or 5th

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    I’ve seen projections oh him going as late as round 5. If he’s there at the end of the 4th, I think it would be an outstanding value pick. I think he’s much better than the limited Bama offense and young QB allows him to be in 2016.