The 2013 NFL draft may have a new darling in Walter Stewart
He isn't an army captain who has a chance for a different life, or a man freed after a long false imprisonment, but the former Cincinnati Bearcats linebacker has all the makings of a compelling comeback story.
He started as the foster-care kid who overcome a tough past, excelled and then had his dreams dashed. And that’s just the beginning.
A great starting point for understanding Stewart’s ability is his versatility. As a redshirt freshman, he started strong at outside linebacker, recording 59 tackles (8.5 for a loss) and 4.5 sacks. When the coaching staff moved him to defensive end, Stewart responded with six sacks, 11 tackles for a loss and four forced fumbles.
Stewart is a great athlete. Although he couldn’t participate in drills at the combine, he did put up a 4.69 40-yard dash and a 37.5" vertical jump at his pro day, according to nfldraftscout.com.
Like Jarvis Jones, there's an injury risk associated with Stewart. And, like Jones, there is a lot of upside to warrant foregoing that risk. While there's a medical consensus on Jones' condition, the vote is split from the doctors regarding a congenital defect in Stewart’s spine that was discovered when he injured his back last season.