New York Jets Film Room – 3rd Round WR ArDarius Stewart

Joe Caporoso with a film breakdown of New York Jets 3rd round WR ArDarius Stewart

With the 79th overall pick in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected wide receiver ArDarius Stewart from the University of Alabama. Let’s take a closer look at his game and how he fits with the Jets offense…

CHAD HANSEN FILM BREAKDOWN 

Production

  • 2014: 12 receptions, 149 yards, 0 TDs
  • 2015: 63 receptions, 700 yards, 4 TDs, 5 carries, 14 yards
  • 2016: 54 receptions, 864 yards, 8 TDs, 8 carries, 68 yards, 8 kick returns, 161 yards

Measurables 

Positives 

Stewart is a violent, physical runner after the catch with good speed. He thrives on creating after short screens, swing passes and manufactured touches in the running game. Stewart is type of receiver who is the regular recipient of “long hand offs” in the passing game, meant to make life easier on the quarterback and put the onus on the pass catcher to create yards.

Similar to his running style, Stewart is a physical player when the ball is not in his hands. He is a willing blocker on the edges and in the screen game and is the type of receiver who is constantly looking for the “kill shot” on a cut block or crack-back. Alabama would not just regularly use him on wide receiver screens as the pass catcher but also as the lead blocker.

When asked to go down the field Stewart tracks the ball well in the vertical passing game. He has good straight line speed and was able to regularly run by slower corners at college level and convert when the ball was put reasonably in his catch radius.

While Stewart never broke a big one at Alabama in limited opportunities, he has a skill set that should be conducive to being a productive kick returner. He showed good vision in the outside running game and on the slower developing, reverses and double reverses that Alabama set up for him. It would not be surprising to see him make an impact as a returner at the next level.

Negatives 

Stewart was given a limited route tree in college and many times looks like a running back being asked to play wide receiver. He does not have great natural hands and does not show a consistently good feel on how to set cornerbacks up and run more complex routes. Unlike his vertical routes, he does not always track the ball well in the short to intermediate passing game and has tight hips when working through his route breaks.

Stewart’s releases against more physical cornerbacks and press coverage is inconsistent at best. He usually tries to just bully his way through, rather than setting up a move for a clean release or using his hands. This leads to the timing on his routes occasionally being thrown off.

When working against zone coverage, Stewart doesn’t show a consistent feel on finding windows or knowing when to “sit” in the open hole. He is unlikely to be a threat in the red-zone due to his size and style of play.

Despite being a willing blocker, Stewart too often looks for the kill shot, instead of just focusing on walling his defender off. This style of play leads to some big hits but also some big misses.

Roster Fit

Stewart has a unique build and style of play to the rest of the receivers he will be competing with for reps and targets, especially with Jalin Marshall starting the season suspended for four games. Stewart is likely going to have a package of plays that allow him to work out of the backfield or slot, built to take advantage of his ability to run after the catch. The majority of his work could be focused within five to seven yards of the line of scrimmage. He is going to make the team as a third round pick but may actually take more targets away from Matt Forte, Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire than Eric Decker, Quincy Enunwa or any other receiver the Jets would have working in the slot. Stewart is also likely to be a core special teams player on coverage units and compete to be the kick returner.

Overall

Stewart is a rich man’s version of Marshall. He is built like a running back and runs after the catch like one. Similar to Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, Stewart is noted for his intangibles, competitiveness and being an “alpha dog” out on the field. He is still raw as a wide receiver in many aspects, particularly on his route tree, working back to the football, hand consistency and selling cuts with his hips. If Stewart can develop beyond a situational weapon on offense and core special teams player, it will be a pleasant surprise.

Photo Credit: Zimbio.com 

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • Ron

    How do you scout prospects using draftbreakdown.com? Don’t you find it hard without all 22? Especially with WR, DB, QB. With DBs in particular I have a hard time believing any internet scout relying on draft breakdown for their film study. I don’t understand how you or the people you employ can scout Marcus maye, Jamal Adams, etc without the coaches film.
    PS love your pod and blog. What happened to thejetsblog.com..

  • JetOrange

    I see Stewart as a Quincy Enunwa clone. IMO he should back up Quincy run His route tree. I expect Ardarius to be a core special teamer and make 20 catches as a fourth receiver.

  • RONBO19

    J/O, I’m thinking more Lavernues Coles as a comparison. Very physical. Stewart is a lot smaller than Enunwa!

  • JetOrange

    Certainly Coles is a better comparison. Quincy is about 2 inches taller and about 20 pounds heavier , that’s significant. Enunwa’ s role has not been established under Morton, one would hope that this role is not just a classic X or Y receiver, Quincy could be the playmaker of this offense, it’s his ability to run after the catch and his ability to block in the running game that sets him apart. I see very similar attributes in Stewart, and although he is smaller I think he is tough enough ( and the only other one on this roster) that could block like Quincy. Enunwa was a sixth round pick, showed value on ST, was cut , relentlessly worked on his skills and has evolved into a weapon. I see a similar path for Stewart, hopefully a little more accelerated, but in many way his skill set is close to Quincey and I see value in grooming him as Quinceys backup. Say what you will about Gailey, but he created great roles for Enunwa and Decker, utilized Marshall, and developed Robby Anderson. Mortons challenge is to create effective roles for Enunwa and Stewart to most effectively use their talents.

  • RONBO19

    J/O, as usual, we are on the same page regarding both Enunwa and Stewart. I watch a lot of SEC
    football so I have seen a lot of Stewart. To be honest, I never viewed his as anything but a complimentary player. He’s certainly no Amari Cooper. However, seeing as the Jets thought enough of him to draft him a round or two higher than I expected I have to think they saw something in him he didn’t get the chance to show at Alabama. Bama’s QB situation has been crap since A.J.McCarron left so a coach like Saban is naturally going to be come more run focused with a controlled passing game to limit mistakes. With Bama’s defense they just play the field position game and wait for turn overs. Thus neither Stewart, or TE O.J. Howard never got the opportunity to show what they could do.