(William Hauser/USA TODAY Sports)

Sophomore Spotlight: Tony Steward

Steward only lasted one season with the Bills.

The Buffalo Bills had six picks in the 2015 NFL draft. One year after being selected, it’s time to look back on their careers before joining the Bills, their rookie seasons, and what’s in store for them in year two.

With the 188th overall pick in the 2015 draft, the Bills selected linebacker Tony Steward. Some draft analysts didn’t have Steward on their draft board as he never came close to being the impact player that Clemson imagined he’d be when he joined the Tigers.

Before the Bills

Steward won the Butkus Award in high school for being the best senior linebacker in the nation. He suffered a torn ACL in his senior year of high school before joining Clemson.

Year

Tackles

TFL

Sacks

FF

2011

5

0

0

0

2012

18

0

0

0

2013

21

2.5

1

1

2014

58

10.5

3

0

 

Steward tore the ACL in his other knee as a freshman at Clemson but battled his way back onto the field. His best season came as a senior when he recorded 10.5 tackles for loss.

What the Analysts Said

Many evaluators didn't even project Steward to get drafted, mainly because he battled injuries his entire career. He suffered two serious knee injuries, and also struggled with hamstring issues. The Bills lack depth at inside linebacker, but it would seem Steward is a long-shot to make the team unless he proves to be a special teams stud, which he was in college.

The Sports Xchange

2015 Season

In the preseason, Steward suffered a knee injury. The MCL injury kept Steward off of the field until Week 6. Steward contributed on special teams in his first three games and played a total of 32 snaps over that time. In Week 9, Steward saw defensive snaps for the first time as a rookie.

Steward started for the Bills in Week 12 against the Houston Texans, but only played four snaps before suffering a back injury. He was placed on the injured reserve after that game. Steward finished the season with eight defensive snaps and 86 special teams snaps according to Pro Football Reference.

2016 Outlook

Buffalo released Steward in April. He was signed by the Patriots, but waived by New England in May. Steward was then signed by the New Orleans Saints in mid-May.

The Bills took a shot on adding a linebacker that was among the best in the country entering college, but the move ultimately did not pay off.

Previous Sophomore Spotlights

http://www.scout.com/nfl/bills/story/1674182-sophomore-spotlight-dezmin-lewis

http://www.scout.com/nfl/bills/story/1674265-sophomore-spotlight-nick-o-leary

 

 


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