(Editor’s Note: While the start of the 2018 NFL Draft isn’t until April 26, it’s never too early to profile some of the key participants. The staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of the draft’s top prospect, with an emphasis on possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today’s featured player is UNC’s M.J. Stewart.)
- Name: M.J. Stewart
- Position: Cornerback
- *College: *North Carolina
- *Height/Weight: *6-0 / 205
- Honors: Second-team All-ACC pick as a sophomore and honorable mention selection as a junior in 2016.
- Key Stat: After picking off four passes as a sophomore in 2015, Stewart went the last two seasons without recording a single interception.
Where He’s Projected:
Stewart doesn’t have the best measurables for a cornerback, which is why he is being considered a mid-round pick, anywhere from the late third to the fifth. However, considering teams play different schemes on defense, Stewart might be a better fit in other defenses, which could help his stock, especially for a squad that needs help in the nickel defense.
How He Helps The Cowboys:
One might assume the Cowboys wouldn’t have much interest in a cornerback, especially if Byron Jones is expected to move from safety. But the old adage of never having enough cornerbacks still comes into play. Don’t forget, the Cowboys drafted Marquez White last year after picking two corners in the early rounds. If they think there is a player who could help immediately, they would do that. Stewart has physical size that could get him on the field early, especially on special teams.
- Has the ability to play a couple of different spots.
- Some view as a corner while others want to try him at safety.
- Can cover in the slot and is also a dependable tackler.
- Timed speed (4.54) is not ideal but with the way that he plays his technique, he makes it work.
- Can put him up tight and let him jam or you can back him off then allow him to open and run.
- Has a feel for coverage and positioning.
- Not surprising how many passes he’s able to defend.
- Physically tough and dependable scheme fit due to his ability.