ArDarius Stewart was a 4-star athlete coming out of Fultondale High School in Fultondale, Alabama. He was ranked No. 3 at the athlete position nationally by Rivals.com, the No.4 player in Alabama and the No. 66 in the Rivals100. He received numerous individual honors while at Fultondale including, first team small school All-American by MaxPreps, and second team on the overall All-American team as a defensive back. As a senior in 2012, Stewart amassed 52 total touchdowns via receptions, rushes and returns, while totaling 1,923 rushing yards on offense and 55 tackles and 2 interceptions on defense.
Stewart stands apart from his peers when he has the ball in space and can use his great ball carrier vision and elusiveness coupled with his ability to extend runs by breaking tackles as well. His aggressiveness and competitive toughness are evident by his nickname "Axe-bearer" which he received by showing up on the Alabama sideline after spraining his knee, in order to remind his fellow receiver's that quote, "We're assassins". He does have some drops, but as a whole is a really good athlete that could be used all over the field and is a threat to take it to the house on any play.
STRENGTHS: With average height for the position at 6-a, ArDarius Stewart has a thin, toned average size upper and lower body. He is a good athlete at WR with good quickness, explosiveness, and ability to change direction, coupled with very good agility, balance, and acceleration. He has very good top speed as well, reportedly running an unofficial 4.43 40 time, which is enough to give less speedy defensive backs fits. His strength, despite his leaner frame was a bit of a surprise on tape as he constantly locked up DB's when blocking and routinely broke tackles after the catch. He has a good understanding of the game and his assignments knowing where he needs to be and what his responsibility is on the play, whether running a specific route or blocking for a teammate. He has good route running ability, using his quickness to create separation from DB's and present his QB with a target. Shows some knowledge of stemming DB's, something that could greatly benefit him at the next level. He has solid catching ability, with flashes of very good catching ability when going up, adjusting to the ball in the air and making contested catches with his strong hands. He usually transitions smooth from receiver to runner though does have rare moments where he doesn't come down with the ball as balanced as he could and loses a little momentum. After the catch he really shines with his elusiveness and ability to maneuver through traffic, skills that also helps him on reverses and when returning kicks. He also does a good job of fighting for extra yards, refusing to go down often choosing to take on defenders rather than stepping out of bounds along the sideline. He is a good blocker, which is a bit surprising given his thin frame, but makes up for it with good positioning and competitive toughness. Great effort and hustle down field, often seen sprinting ahead of teammates to throw a block and help extend the play.
WEAKNESSES: Stewart's biggest weakness is definitely the dropped passes. He has several plays on tape where he either isn't focusing on securing the catch before looking up to run or he simply drops it. Stewart is not as crisp in and out of cuts as he could be, something I'm sure NFL coaches will help him improve. He sometimes jumps slightly off the ground unnecessarily when making the catch, something that can affect your run ability to immediately change direction in the run after the catch.
IN OUR VIEW:
We see Stewart as a 2nd to 3rd round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He will be taken by a team looking to add some depth to the WR position, likely with hopes of him earning playing time immediately. It's possible he will first have to earn playing time as a kick returner/special teamer, but we think he his competitiveness and unselfishness coupled with his ability after the catch will be enough to see him earn playing time as a slot receiver and possibly a number 2 WR. If Stewart can lower his drops and continue to improve his route running, Stewart has the potential to develop into a borderline pro bowl caliber WR in the NFL.
Hines Ward, Former Pittsburgh Steeler: They have almost identical body sizes and their aggressiveness, mental toughness and skills after the catch are where the biggest comparisons are clear. Ward like Stewart was used in the running game as well amassing over 80 carries in his career, something Stewart is likely to see in the pro's as well. Ward's average season of 71 receptions, 863 yards and 6 touchdowns seems about right for what to expect from Stewart once he becomes a full time starter for an NFL team.
Career Passing Stats
Career Rushing/Receiving Stats
Career Defensive Stats
Career Returning Stats
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