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NFL Draft Prospect Preview - Josaiah Stewart

by J.T. Toth


Photo courtesy of 247Sports.


At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.


Today’s Spotlight - Michigan, Edge, Josaiah Stewart


Name- Josaiah Stewart

Pos- Edge

Team- Michigan

HT/WT- 6’1” 245 lbs

Born- n/a

Home – Bronx, NY


Josaiah Stewart played his high school football at Everett High School in the greater Boston area. With the cancellation of a season due to Covid, Stewart only played 1 ½ seasons of high school competition. He made the most of his limited time, collecting 35 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 9 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries. During his senior year recruiting, he was a consensus 3-star prospect and a top 10 player in the Boston area. After his senior season, he committed to Coastal Carolina University for the 2021 season.


Stewart wasted no time making his mark at Coastal Carolina. In his pure freshman season, he played in 13 games, starting 6 and totaled 43 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. His 12.5 sacks were the most by any freshman in the country. He had several honors after the season, including a semifinalist for the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year, All-Sun Belt First Team and made the final watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award.


In 2022, Stewart did not have quite the impact as he did in his freshman season. He appeared in 12 games, starting 11 and tallied 36 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Though it wasn’t the production he showed in 2021, he was still named All-Sun Belt second team after the season. In December, Stewart decided to enter the transfer portal and transferred to Michigan to continue out his college career.


This year, Stewart played in all 13 games for the Wolverines in a rotating reserve role. He’s been consistent and shared defensive player of the week honors 3 times while collecting 26 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. At the conclusion of the season, Stewart was All-Big Ten Honorable Mention for the Wolverines.


Josaiah Stewart has as much athleticism as any other edge/linebacker in this class. He’s agile and has the ability to drop into coverage. He can turn and run with tight ends and has the speed to follow a running back out of the backfield. He sniffs out runs and fires through gaps, getting past blockers and to the back. When in zone coverage, he reads plays well and appears very instinctive in his reaction. 


Stewart does not have a lot of success lining up and beating a tackle one-on-one in his pass rush. He needs to deceive the offensive line by blitzing from coverage or using other schematic blitzes. When looking at his frame, Stewart projects as a tweener who can offer some versatility all over the field. His tackling lacks the toughness you want to see and he grabs and drags more than he wraps up. When engaging with blockers, he needs to have better shedding skills. He can easily get lost at times in the line of scrimmage against bigger offensive lineman. 


It is almost impossible not to think of Haason Reddick when you think of a smaller edge player with elite athleticism. Reddick was the 13th overall pick in 2017 and after starting slow has become an explosive defensive playmaker. Stewart shares so much of the ceiling that Reddick has and can be a game changer if used in the right way. 


Strengths


  • Chase

  • Coverage

  • Speed

  • Agility


Weaknesses


  • Pass rush/one-on-one

  • Tweener

  • Tackling

  • Size


Final Analysis


Josaiah Stewart is an interesting prospect. He does not have the size you want from an edge rusher, but the mixture of athleticism and speed could make him a game changing player on defense. If selected the right defensive scheme, it will go a long way to predicting the level of success we can expect from Stewart.


Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 5th round or 6th round

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