Stewart was a three-year letterwinner on the defensive line in high school, and he finished the 2007 season with 102 tackles, 22 of those for loss, 17 sacks, six caused fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. He earned Columbus Dispatch first-team all-metro and second-team all-Ohio honors as a senior. Stewart collected six fumbles, 11 forced fumbles, 30 sacks and 285 total tackles for his high school career. Stewart went on the have a tremendous college football career, but the major news was revealed this year that he had been born without the posterior arch of the C1 vertebra, an injury that most believe will seriously derail his football career.
In 2008, Stewart did not see game action during the regular season, but earned the Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. In 2009, Steward made 12 starts at outside linebacker. He registered 59 tackles (8.5 for loss), 4.5 sacks, one interception, and one forced fumble. The following year, Stewart notched 60 tackles (eight for loss), two sacks, and a forced fumble in 12 games. In 2011, Stewart had 44 tackles (11 for loss), six sacks, eight pass breakups, and four forced fumbles. Prior to suffering the injury that exposed his condition, in 2012, Stewart had 22 tackles (seven for loss), four sacks, and two forced fumbles in six games.
Tall, long edge rusher who comes off the ball smooth, quick and low despite his height. Sits into his three-point stance very well, has flexibility to turn the corner and closing speed to finish the play. Uses length and powerful hits to separate the ball from quarterbacks from the blind side. Also lines up on the strong side. Has quickness to jump inside when tackles lean to stop his edge rush. Has quick hands to get inside the tackle’s jersey and leverage them backwards. Shows good backfield awareness and flashes violence to shed blocks when ballcarriers come his direction, tight ends and fullbacks have little chance to keep him out of plays. Stands up regularly, shows good get-off some decent movement skills in space for his build to handle short-area zones. Willing to hit tight ends to knock them off their route.
Tall and lean, will need to prove he can maintain leverage to NFL linemen (especially doubles) as a defensive end. Can be backed up off the line and moved via the upper body by stronger linemen. Will leave his feet before making a tackle instead of running through target, though his length is usually good enough to stop ballcarriers. Stiff, high and leggy in his backpedal dropping into coverage, looks much better when using angles.
Stewart’s rocky childhood didn’t prevent him from excelling on the high school level once he moved out to the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio under the guidance of his foster parents. Over the past four years, his length, strength and smooth quickness off the edge has made him a reliable starter for the Bearcats (27.5 career tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks) as well as a potential mid-round selection as a 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 pass rush specialist defensive end.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.