Name: Darian Stewart
Height: 5’11" Weight: 214 lbs
Age: 28 Experience: 8th
College: South Carolina
In 'The Defiant Ones,' HBO's documentary on Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, Iovine discusses the necessity for race horses to wear blinders, “When you’re a race horse, the reason they put blinders on these things is because if you look at the horse on the left or the right, you’re going to miss a step. That’s why the horses have blinders on. And that’s what people should have. When you’re running after something, you should not look left or right — what does this person think, what does that person think? No. Go.”
Darian Stewart hasn’t missed a step since going undrafted in 2010 out of South Carolina and being signed by the St. Louis Rams. Stewart would play in 53 games for the Rams, starting 19 of those and finishing his time in St. Louis with 109 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 4 sacks and one interception from 2010-13. It wasn't until his one-season contract with the 2014 Baltimore Ravens when Stewart would start 14 games, but most importantly catch the eye of then Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. Kubiak promptly signed him out of free agency to the Denver Broncos and set him on a path to the Super Bowl 50 in 2015 and Stewart's first Pro Bowl in 2016.
Stewart has been an All Pro essentially since his first plays of the 2015 training camp. He’s been talked about in All Pro conversations by those clever enough to notice every since, but in his 2016 contract season he appeared to play himself right out of the Broncos’ available cap spend.
But, on November 26, 2016, Stewart signed a 4-year $30-million extension. For the first time in Stewart’s 7 season career he was getting paid.
And you still haven’t heard anything about him. Stewart’s not letting anything stop him from world domination.
I mentioned earlier Stewart being considered an All Pro and I'd like to make the mud hole he stomped in what was the 2015 NFL Playoffs as Exhibit A. Through the Divisional Round, Championship game and Super Bowl 50, Stewart had 11 tackles, 1 sack, 3 passes defended, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception. Against Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Cam Newton.
Though Will Parks is making a case against himself it is possible that T.J. Ward could be playing his final season in Denver. Short of a late November signing a la Stewart himself, it is probable that Stewart will lead youngsters Justin Simmons and Parks into 2018 without Ward. That could spell an issue for Stewart, as Ward is likely to ball out in what is the second chance of his career at a lucrative contract.
Ward is likely to play as an aggressive linebacker, while Simmons sits back with Stewart on safety duty. And this was a paring that didn’t always mix well for Denver in 2016. New defensive coordinator Joe Woods seems to be sit on simply tweaking his mentor Wade Phillips system. From what we’ve witnessed thus far that likely means that we’re going to see someone like Chris Harris blazing towards quarterbacks in the backfield. Which likely means Stewart will be expected to cover the opposing teams slot receiver more often.
Darian Stewart on being a veteran:
“I feel like I’m smarter. I’m feeling the game a lot better than I did in my earlier years. You know I just know where the quarterback wants to go with the ball.”
You may have missed the part last season where the Broncos gave Stewart more guaranteed money than anyone remaining on the current #NoFlyZone roster. Now what do you think that Stewart’s going to try to leave? A guaranteed contract or a legacy?
Stewart’s secretly the leader of the defense after Von Miller and I think that you see that in his play when he can take over a game just as much as Von.