STRENGTHS - Stewart is a dominant player who constantly is around the ball making impact, game-changing plays. From both a 3-Pt DE and 2-Pt OLB alignment, Stewart's snap anticiptaion combines with rare foot quickness so he can explode off the ball and with his speed he can beat the OT to and around the corner with ease. Able to change directions in a flash, Stewart can plant and explode back inside to beat the OT back under-neath. Once he clears pass blocker he has an explosive closing burst to the QB to finish the sack. Although he lacks ideal bulk/weight for a DE, he is a dominating run defender. His initial quickness allows him to explode through the inside gap to blow up running plays at him before they can get started. Able to take on OL run blocks with base/leverage, he uses his hands to aggressively jolt blocker upright, sheds/tosses blocker and makes tackle on runs to his side of the field. On running plays away, he explodes down the LOS and has the speed of a linebacker to easily catch the ball carrier in pursuit. Although he did not do it often, he has experience dropping off the LOS in coverage and looked smooth and agile moving and adjusting out in space.
WEAKNESSES - While his size is not ideal for a 43 DE and he does not have a ton of experience playing in pass coverage, those are not the issues that could keep him from playing in the NFL. After an outstanding 2011 season, Stewart was playing at an even higher level in 2012 before being injured in a game against Toledo. While being examined/check by doctors after this injury Stewart was told by doctors that he was born without the poster arch of his C1 vertebra and that his career was effectively over. Since then he has received numerous different medical opinions and was invited to the 2013 NFL Combine, but after his medical check there he was not permitted to workout. Right now, I think Stewart's medical status is a major question mark and likely will come down to each team's individual medical staff.
SUMMARY - After being told by some scouts that I did not have to evaluate Stewart because his playing career was over I received late information from NFL sources that Stewart was being invited to the Combine and that there are in fact differing opinions as to whether he can continue his football career. For the medical stuff I would not think of offering an opinions as I know nothing about medicine or spinal issues, but I can speak to Stewart's football talent. Overall, if Stewart had not medical issues I have no doubt he would be a first round pick and would be competing with Barkevious Mingo and Bjoern Werner to be the top defensive end in the Draft. However, you can expect Stewart to at best be a seventh round pick, but more than likely will go undrafted and will have to sign as a free agent because of concerns about his medical condition. If he proves to be able to play and maintains good health in the NFL, I believe he will be a double digit sack guy who makes a ton of big plays and is an immediate impact player. .