In a sort of hypothetical hyperbole where reality dictates the probability of a speculative existence, Jonathan Stewart is a Texan. Huh? Never mind. Jonathan Stewart was taken 18th overall with our pick in the annual SBN NFL Mock Draft. While reaction has been mixed, this might very well be the selection the Texans make on April 26th.
Using Hail Redskins outstanding mock draft database, I was able to compile the results of the first fifty (50) mock drafts they had listed. While there was no overwhelming vote for one position or player, Jonathan Stewart ( must see video) was the majority pick. Below is a pie chart that shows a breakdown of what those fifty prognosticators predict for the Texans selection at 18.
The Texans are eager to make a move that will help their team immediately. Couple that with the Gary Kubiak's desire to establish a dominant ground game and Jonathan Stewart could be the one sporting a Texans cap on draft day. With that in mind, I decided to take a closer look at the one they call "Snoop".
The first thing that you notice about the running back out of Oregon is his build. Jonathan Stewart stands an NFL ready 5'11" and weighs a bruising 235 lbs. He has freakish upper and lower body strength. In college, his recorded lifts include a 402 lb power clean lift, 410 lb bench press, and a 555 lb squat. At the combine, he was a top performer, putting 225 lbs up a total of 28 times. To give you a little perspective, OT Jeff Otah turned in a 27 rep performace, OT Ryan Clady did a total of 24, and OG Branden Albert was only able to complete 23 reps.
Jonathan Stewart also turned in a top-ten 40 time of 4.48 at the combine - in spite of a nagging toe injury. Without the injury, Stewart could conceivably run in the low 4.4s. His rare combination of size and speed has garnered league wide attention. Seattle PI reporter Clare Farnsworth quoted Texans running backs coach Chick Harris as saying, "(Stewart's) speed is interesting. When he turns the corner on you, he's deceiving, because he's a big man moving really fast. He's strong, powerful and he's got good quicks".
Farnsworth goes on to write the following:
Stewart was an integral part of Oregon's spread offense, where they employ a zone blocking styled rushing attack. A quick look at his collegiate numbers shows how effective he could be as a 'one cut and go' style rusher.
The one stat that impressed me the most was the 516 rushing attempts without a fumble. It speaks to his brute strength, and his ability to stay focused. He's going to be a valued asset to any team trying to grind out wins on Sunday.
To recap, Snoop is big, fast, strong, and quick. He can provide protection in the passing game as a blocker, and be an outlet valve as a receiver. Oh yeah, and he never fumbles. So what's not to like? Well... the knock on Stewart is his knack for getting dinged up; but don't dare call him injury prone. Check out this quote as reported by Fox Sports' Adam Schien:
"I want to play every game. I play every snap. I had an ankle injury and now this toe. That's been the only problems I have ever had playing football. It hasn't slowed me down yet and it won't slow me down. I had 250 yards against a very good South Florida team on a messed-up toe in our last game of the season. That's me. That's how I play through. That should show a lot."
There is no doubt that the Texans need for a franchise running back is paramount as we head to the NFL draft, but so cornerback. With the health of Dunta Robinson in question, we need to bolster the secondary; however, a talent like Jonathan Stewart doesn't come around every year. A dynamic running back with the ability to open up the passing game could turn the Texans into one of the leagues most explosive offenses. Jonathan Stewart just may be that extraordinary talent the Texans need to take them from playoff hopefuls to playoff contenders.