Darian Stewart was signed by the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted college free agent in 2010. He spent his first 4 years in the league with them with significant contributions as a starter in 2011.
Name: Darian Stewart
Position: Free Safety
Height: 5'11" Weight: 214
Age: 28 Experience: 7
College: South Carolina
After his time in St. Louis, he was signed by the Baltimore Ravens for the 2014 season where he saw significant work with impactful play in the postseason as well.
Stewart was signed for the 2015 season by the Denver Broncos, where he is still under contract through this year. His impact on the field in 2015 flew largely under the radar which isn't surprising with how much talent the Broncos historic defense held.
His impact was seen right away though as he showed the kind of player that he was in week 1 of 2015 against his former team.
One of two things is happening at the free safety position with the Broncos and Darian Stewart:
1) Darian Stewart has the kind of play reading smarts that the epitome of safeties in this league have
2) Wade Phillips has designed a scheme that Stewart as a player fits so snugly into that he looks far better than he is
While I think a little bit of both are true (Wade designs his schemes to fit his players), there's been way too much good from Stewart on the field since I've been watching him to think to much of options 2. This guy reads plays better than any safety the Broncos have had for years. He breaks on plays whether they are runs or passes with very few missteps from what we've seen in one year of his play.
He is a very physical safety which I absolutely love about his game. He is a huge factor in run support and hits like a truck at times.
The intangible I love in his play is his confidence. He absolutely, positively made myself and others in Broncos Country sit up and take notice and walked the walk of the "No Fly Zone" since he joined the team.
His contract is up after this year. Yeah, that's all I got. The worst thing about Stewart's play is that he might be taking it elsewhere after this season. The upside to that is that he's got all kinds of motivation to play well. The downside is that if the Broncos don't find a way to keep him in orange and blue, we will lose a dynamic play maker on this vaunted defense.
Stewart is an absolute lock for the starting free safety role in 2016. He's the kind of player that I would love to see the Broncos approach this season and get a deal done much like they have in the past with CHJ and Wolfe. If he's willing to take a fair deal like they did, I can see it happening. If he's wanting to get paid, this is his best shot at breaking the bank, though which is why I'm having a hard time finding hope that my favorite Denver defender (yes even above Von Miller) will stay with the team after this year.