The New York Jets traded their original 3rd round pick (70th overall) to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for the 78th overall pick and the 160th overall pick (5th round).
And at the podium former Jets fullback Tony Richardson announced, “With the 78th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft the J-E-T-E, JETS, select ArDarius Stewart, Wide Receiver, Alabama.” Yes, maybe the pressure and moment overwhelmed Richardson and he missed spelled, J-E-T-S, but we still love you Tony!
As for Stewart, he comes in at 5 feet, 11 inches, weighing 204 pounds. In his three years at Alabama, Stewart caught 129 passes for 1,713 yards and 12 touchdowns. Without question, Stewart’s best year came in his junior and final year for the Crimson Tide when he caught 54 balls for over 860 yards and 8 touchdowns.
In his three years at Alabama Stewart never was the main threat on offense, with Amari Cooper in 2014 and Calvin Ridley in 2015/ 2016 drawing the attention from most defenses, not to mention star tight end and the 19th overall pick O.J. Howard. Despite being second fiddle to Ridley in the receiving core, Stewart did have 95 more receiving yards and 1 more touchdown last year, in three less games.
Stewart is very physical at the line of scrimmage, and uses his strength to his advantage when trying to separate from defenders. With that strength and leaping ability, Stewart has the ability to win many of the 50/50 balls, and his elusiveness helps in gaining many yards after the catch. Other than receiving, Stewart has thrown and completed 2 passes for 36 yards and has had 13 rushes for 82 yards in his career at ‘Bama. The one knock on Stewart is that he was suspended for 1 game last year for a violation of team rules.
Stewart should bring a physical element to the Jets receiving core that was lost with the departure of Brandon Marshall. In the early going I’d expect Stewart to make his biggest impact on Special Teams, but learning under Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa, hopefully he can quickly develop into a reliable target for whoever will be throwing the passes.
The Jets were also supposed to have another 3rd round pick on the night (107th overall), but they traded it away to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 125th pick (4th round) and 204th pick (6th round).