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New York Jets Off the Clock: Third-Round Pick Wide Receiver ArDarius Stewart, Alabama Crimson Tide
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10 May 2017 02:26 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Alabama wide out ArDarius Stewart after the catch in the SEC Championship Game. (Image Source: Getty Images)

The New York Jets had nine picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, with six coming on Day 3. As we take the Jets “Off the Clock,” we’ll break down all nine of their draft picks, continuing with their third-round selection:

Round 3; Pick 15 (79th Overall): WR ArDarius Stewart, Alabama

Measurables: One of the shorter receivers in this class at 5’11” Stewart brings adequate bulk (204 pounds) and solid arm length (32 ½”). He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49, which is good enough but not blazing by any stretch. While he lacks an impressive vertical (34”) compared to other wide outs, the Crimson Tide did flash explosion with a 10’4” broad jump at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Skill Set: Lacking eye-popping measurables, Stewart made scouts notice him with his play on the field, where he did many things well. He understands little nuances of route running and how to set up defensive backs to keep them off balance. A strong pass catcher, the Alabama man is a physical player who is at his best making plays in the open field after the catch, not a common combination. During his college career, Stewart also flashed the ability to stretch the field thanks in large part to excellent timing and superb body control. He has strong, reliable hands. In addition, Stewart can contribute as a kick returner and a runner on sweeps.

New York Jets Off the Clock: Off Needs | Def Needs | Jamal Adams | Marcus Maye |

Value: NFL.com projected Stewart as a second- or third-round pick, while ESPN had him ranked 87th overall, 16 slots lower than CBSSports.com (71st overall). Using pre-draft analysis as a gage, Stewart probably went around where he should have.

Need: Yes and no. Brandon Marshall is gone and who knows how much longer the injury-prone Eric Decker will be around. There’s also some youth on the roster with guys like Quincy Enunwa (24), Robby Anderson (24), Charone Peake (24), and Jalin Marshall (21). Throw in free agent addition Quinton Patton and the Jets already had six wide receivers on the roster. However, it’s possible Enunwa is the only one who is part of the future, as the Jets shift into rebuild mode.

Mogollon’s Pick: Sitting at No. 79, I would have gone with Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis, who I had rated as a better prospect than Stewart at a position that’s a bigger need. Lewis would have competed for significant playing time as a rookie and I believe will be ready to start no later than next season.

Who Else Did They Pass Up? Other covermen who would have been worthy selections in the third round include UCLA’s Fabian Moreau (No. 81), Cameron Sutton (No. 94) out of Tennessee, and Clemson’s Cordrea Tankersley (No. 97). Tight end Jonnu Smith (No. 100) from FAU would have competed for a starting role from Day 1. Had New York not traded down from 70, they would have had their choice of Ohio State center Pat Elflein, Indiana guard Dan Feeney, and Alabama outside linebacker Tim Williams, all players projected as second-round picks.

NFL Draft OTC: Picks 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16, 17-20, 21-24, 25-28, 29-32; Giants OTC: Needs | Evan Engram |

The Fit: With the Jets shifting to a West Coast offense this season, Stewart’s run after the catch ability will come into play, a skill set that most of New York’s wide outs lack.

2017 Outlook & Beyond: A playmaker who could make an immediate impact on offense, as well as special teams, look for Stewart to get on the field as a rookie. He will have to earn his playing time of course because there will be competition but there’s a reason the Jets used a third-round pick on the Alabama product. Beyond this season, I would expect Stewart to be in the mix for a starting role as he develops into a productive No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in John Morton’s offense.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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