While it’s no secret that Alabama could be considered a running back factory in recent years, the number of current receivers in the league can be counted on one hand (Julio Jones, Amari Cooper and Kevin Norwood). The next draft eligible receiver for the Crimson Tide is the 6’1’’, 205 pound ArDarius Stewart.
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Statistics from sports-reference.com.
ArDarius started just two games on the talented Alabama team as a redshirt freshman, but played in eight games recording just twelve catches. The following year, he saw the field for 15 games, catching 63 balls for 700 yards and four scores. While the team only connected on 300 passes throughout the year, Stewart snagged 21% of them.
2016 saw a higher yardage total, with 864 yards on 54 receptions. Stewart added eight scores, even after missing three games (two due to injury and one for “violating team behaviour rules”). While Alabama is primarily a run first team, Stewart was constantly about 20 receptions behind Calvin Ridley, but surpassed him in yards and touchdowns in 2016.
While the Mock Draftable spider chart doesn’t jump off the page, Stewart is only below average in height and vertical jump. He does have well above average Broad Jump results and pretty long arms for his height. Otherwise he is slightly above average for a receiver in weight, hand size, and 40 time.
It’s worth remembering that just being above average is not bad for a receiver, while being below could be damning. While his athletic comps are full of players that never went anywhere, Justin Blackmon at one time looked to be a future stud in the league. It’s clear on tape that athleticism is not where Stewart wins and that continues to be showcased in his Player Profiler page.
Not an athletic marvel, Stewart’s profile leaves a bit desired. His 60th percentile speed score is nice to see as that relates to his great route running ability. Stewart continues his trend of being slightly above average by having a 70th percentile college dominator rating and a 69th percentile yards per reception score. His breakout age is incredibly low, in the fifth percentile, partly due to him redshirting in college. The agility and catch radius scores aren’t there, but I expect these to be in the 50th percentile range as well.
If you like high effort, hardworking, no-nonsense receivers, Stewart is your guy. He seems to give it his all on every play, fighting for that extra one or two yards and showcasing excellent after the catch ability. He sets up blocks downfield and has running back like tackle breaking ability.
Often used on screens and reverses, Stewart excels in the open field. He shows great burst off the line to get corners off balance, often surprising them with his speed. Stewart has great route ability and sells fakes like some of the best receivers in the league. He shows excellent ability at the catch point to win the ball or wrestle it away from defenders if needed with high level strength and great body control.
Generally, Stewart has very strong hands and rarely body catches. He’s also a very willing blocker for runs and other receivers, and has some real return ability. Stewart needs to work on some of his route variations and has to cut down on dancing at times when the ball is in his hands.
Overall, I really like Stewart and see a lot of Jarvis Landry to his game. He won’t blow you away with athleticism, but will do whatever a team asks him to do, whether as a returner or blocking for others. He also shows that he will fight for every single yard and teams respond to that level of fight in a player. A reliable WR2 for a team isn’t the worst outcome for a third-round rookie pick, which is where he is in current DLF ADP.
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