Dez Stewart (the guy on the right above) earned the award for the most varsity letters at his high school and was named the school’s athlete of the year. He was first team all conference in football, and track, while also playing basketball. He played in the the Southwest Ohio East-West All Star Game as the capper to his career at Walnut Hills High School.
Dez Stewart redshirted the 2011 season at Old Dominion, but appeared in 11 games for the team in 2012. He showed his big play potential with 50+ yard receptions against Notre Dame, Findlay, and Tiffin. It was 2013 when he stepped in to the starting line up and didn’t look back. He was First team All-GLIAC for three seasons, and he hauled in 180 receptions for 2901 yards receiving for the Panthers. In addition to his receiving duties he was also a kick and punt returner.
Dez Stewart ran a 4.43 40 yard dash at his pro day in 2016. He also jumped 36″ up, and 10’6″ in the broad jump. He is more than athletic enough to make it in the NFL. the main issues brought up before the draft were that his production was good, but not dominant at a fairly low level of competition, and that he needed to tighten up his route running.
Dez Stewart’s Pro Career
Signing with the Lions on August 8, 2017, Stewart is definitely behind his counterparts in the receiving corp in terms of playbook knowledge. He will have his work cut out for him in his quest to make the Lions. He has never been on an active NFL roster, having most recently receiving an injury settlement from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Stewart has spent time with the Washington Redskins organization as well. He will not factor in to the Lions plans on offense this season. There are five wide receivers on the Detroit Lions roster having a solid preseason as receivers. Those men stand between Dez Stewart and the field on offense.
Why Am I Writing About Dez Stewart?
Where Stewart has a chance to make the roster is on special teams. Against the New York Jets he made a very nice play on a third quarter Kasey Redfern punt. It was the kind of play that might cause a special teams coach to bang the table for a player when final cuts are made. If he can build on this he has a chance.
Stewart starts the play slightly inside his blocker. When the blocker sets up, expecting Stewart to take an inside route directly to the returner, Stewart goes outside. This forces the blocker to flip his head around and by the time he sets up again, Stewart has a free shot at the returner. At the end, Stewart subtly pauses, delaying the moment of impact until an instant after the returner has handled the ball.
He perfectly times his tackle. The only player on the return team who knows about the fumble as it happens is in no position to recover the ball. This was a heads up play by a lions hopeful, and exactly the sort of thing he needs to do to secure a practice squad spot. If he continues along this path the Lions may want a longer look.