Cleveland Browns added 2018 second-round pick M.J. Stewart on Saturday.
Stewart was selected with the 53rd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Buccaneers. In his two seasons in the NFL, Stewart has played in 21 total games, starting in only six of those games. He has made 68 total tackles, two tackles for loss, and five passes defensed in his career.
Despite being a second-round pick, Stewart never gained a significant role in the Tampa Bay defense. Stewart only played 29 percent of Tampa Bay’s defensive snaps in 2018, and then saw less playing time in 2019 playing 28 percent of the Buccaneers’ defensive snaps.
The Buccaneers used Stewart in a variety of roles to help him find a spot in their secondary, using him as an outside corner, slot corner, or playing him in general nickel situations. However, Stewart never seemed to find a place in Tampa Bay.
Injuries have not helped Stewart, as he missed six games in 2018 due to a foot issue, and then missed five games in 2019 because of a knee problem. A change in schemes from 2018 to 2019 has also limited Stewart’s development.
The Browns deciding to add Stewart is consistent with their moves this offseason, especially in the secondary. Cleveland has added competition up and down the roster, and the secondary seems to be the group with the most competition.
If the Browns decide to play more of a man coverage scheme, Stewart could prove to be a solid fit. Coming out of college, Stewart was a tough cornerback who excelled while in press man coverage. However, he does not have the speed to maintain tight coverage on longer routes.
Stewart will likely jump into the competition to be the No. 3 cornerback, along with Kevin Johnson and Terrance Mitchell. However, Stewart will have to get caught up to speed quickly before camp if he wants to win the job.
It seems unlikely Stewart will snag one of the top three cornerback spots if he manages to win a job during camp. This could prove to be a low-risk, high-reward depth addition for the Browns. If Stewart manages to show why he was a second-round pick with Joe Woods and the Browns defense, this could prove to be a great decision by the Browns front office.