Josh Stewart Knows Combine Is Not Everything

In sports there are some constant comparisons that live through the course of time. When you want to demonstrate how recruiting rankings are way overblown then you pull out Barry Sanders. When you want to pick on the NFL Combine, mention Wes Welker, now a five-time Pro Bowl selection. If you are worried about Josh Stewart after his combine performance then this could make you feel better.

Yes, Sanders came out before the days of stars, as in 4-stars or 5-stars, but he was around for chips as in blue chips and red chips, and he wasn't even considered a corn chip coming out of Wichita (North High School), Kan. He turned out better than most of the first-round picks of his class.

It's hard to compare players in this regard but we all knew (at least those of us close to the team) that Stewart was not blazing fast. He was quick and had definite escapability.

Take Stewart's 95-yard punt return against TCU this past season. Normally when a player returns a punt that far they make an early guy miss, use some blockers to get free, out-run or out-angle the punter and a safety and then sprint into the end zone. Stewart never got to sprint because as he evaded the punter and safety, other players he ran through as they were blocked had caught back up to the play. He was using a key block and avoiding tacklers in the last 15 yards of the sensational return.

That is why the NFL Network's Mike Mayock called Stewart, "quick, but not fast" during Sunday's live coverage of the NFL Combine. Stewart unofficially ran a 4.61 and a 4.69 in the 40-yard dash. His official time was the slower 4.69.

In live drills, he ran the gauntlet well catching every pass and also ran good routes and made a sensational catch on a corner route. That is something he amazed Cowboys fans with often, his soft hands and ability to make difficult catches.

Stewart measured 5-10, 178 pounds with 30-inch arms and 9 and 3/8ths inch hands. So, is Stewart dead in the water on being drafted? What could anyone base his theory on that feels Stewart is draftable?

Let's go back to Mayock's comment and also consider who the best player in the NFL is at the slot receiver. Arguably that could be Wes Welker, and if he's not now then over the past decade.

Welker measured 5-9 and 195 pounds before the 2004 NFL Draft, but he wasn't measured at the NFL Combine. He was measured at Texas Tech's Pro Day because he wasn't invited to the Combine.

Here's a comparison of all the available numbers between Welker and Stewart:
Wes Welker/Josh Stewart
Height 5-9/5-10
Weight 195/178
40 Time 4.61/4.69
Vertical Jump 30 inches/35 inches
Broad Jump 113 inches/117 inches
Three Cone 7.09 seconds/7.10 seconds
Shuttle Drill 4.01 seconds /4.33 seconds

Certainly not saying that Josh Stewart will be the next Wes Welker. However, we're also kind of saying that football does have room for the quick, if not fast players.


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