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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Word of Warning on Stewart

A lot of hope is pouring out of Jonathan Stewart right now. A ridiculous amount, really. Some of it's rational - he's a good player. There's also a lot of mystique right now - after all, he's a big back, which makes him limitless in many minds.

And there's Jon Beason. Another pick at a quasi-need position, Beason improved and led the defense without question last year. It immediately improved the opinion of this year's first round pick; it's not as if Deangelo Williams or Thomas Davis had disappointed. Both are integral parts of the team, but Beason excelled from the start.

The thing that brings this to mind is the return factor. It added a useful facet to his game at the pro level, which to many fans means he'll be on the field 65 snaps a game. Remember that Williams and Richard Marshall were both return specialists, accomplished at the college level, and that both were essentially failures at returning the football in Carolina. Despite being top 60 talents, and obviously having shown that they're good football players at the pro level, they're not excellent return men. I think it's premature to expect it of Stewart, even though he should undoubtedly help the rush offense.

The risk, of course, is also there. Young special teamers trying to make a name for themselves with cheap shots, the natural injury risk, they're going to be factors.

I was, pre-draft, against drafting a back, and I still am. I saw people yearning for that lightning rod, that star that'll make the Disney-movie turn around, and they got that player. I like that we got a top notch football player, though, and dedicated ourselves toward a part of the team that needed it. I'm not against the pick or the player, and it's not about the pre-draft position. The end result is that Stewart doesn't singlehandedly solve all concerns.
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