Name: Orion Stewart
Height: 6’2" Weight: 185 lbs
Age: 23 Experience: R
The Denver Broncos’ No Fly Zone is the crème de la crème of secondaries in the National Football League and it only got stronger this off-season when the team opted to select cornerback Brendan Langley in the third round of the NFL Draft. The team’s work in bolstering their strongest position group wasn’t done then, as the team opted to pick up a handful of talented players at safety as undrafted rookie free agents. One of the potential diamonds in the rough the Broncos were able to unearth was former Baylor standout Orion Stewart.
In his collegiate career with the Bears, Stewart was a force in their secondary and was widely regarded as one of the best downhill safeties in the Big 12. Over the course of four years, he racked up 260 total tackles, 12 interceptions, two defensive touchdowns, 14 passes defended, 3 fumble recovers and a forced fumble. That type of production certainly put Stewart on the map in the eyes of scouts, but due to an incredibly deep draft at the position (perhaps the best in history), he went undrafted.
Now, he is looking to make a mark moving forward and will be in the biggest battle of his football career as he attempts to make the Broncos’ final roster through the course of training camp. Let’s take a deeper look at the pros and cons of Stewart as a player and what he brings to the team.
Stewart was a three-time All-Big 12 selection at safety and one of the most productive back-end players in college football, which is a testament to his instincts and high football IQ. He saved his best for last, accruing 76 tackles and six interceptions as a redshirt senior. He is a high energy player and a vocal leader on the field. Additionally, Stewart possesses great size and a lengthy frame that will allow him to add weight and strength, and also benefits him when matching up against larger tight ends and receivers. Moreover, he is a strong downhill player who isn't afraid to get dirty and put in the work in the run game. Last but not least, Stewart was a special teams standout in his first several seasons at Baylor, which bodes well for him finding a niche to make the team.
Despite eye-popping production in regard to pass defense, Stewart was routinely beat deep through the course of his college career, even in his senior season where he put up his best numbers. Those lapses in coverage led to his benching in one game in his final year. His marginal athleticism and change of direction skills will almost certainly relegate him to the strong safety position in the NFL, as he lacks the overall fluidity to be a single-high safety in the pros. The aforementioned physical limitations may signal him only being a spot duty as a reserve player in deep packages (dime) and on special teams.
The Broncos’ secondary is loaded with talent at both cornerback and safety, so if Stewart is going to make the team’s final roster he is really going to have to turn heads during training camp. Darian Stewart, T.J. Ward and Justin Simmons are mortal locks for the top three safeties spots, with second-year veteran Will Parks with the leg up on the competition for the fourth and likely last spot for a safety on the roster.
Stewart will also face stiff competition from fellow undrafted free agent rookies Jamaal Carter, Dymonte Thomas and Dante Barnett, who each posses a unique set of tools that could land them a spot on the roster. Nevertheless, Stewart’s production and skillset are worth keeping around on the team's practice squad where he would have a chance to develop and have a better shot at making the team in 2018.
Will Orion Stewart make the Broncos’ final roster?
This poll is closed
No, but he will make the team’s practice squad.