There wasn’t a lot that former North Carolina defensive back MJ Stewart couldn’t do in school. He would often change intermittently between positions on drives during games. We caught up with the former Tar Heel during the 2018 Senior Bowl to discuss what he brings to an NFL franchise.
DN: You had so much experience coming into the week having played outside, played inside, sometimes intermittently during games (at North Carolina). And then this week (Senior Bowl), you did a little bit of that as well. You seemed active and comfortable going against a number of receivers and you also looked real comfortable returning kicks. Talk a little bit about that.
Stewart: This is something I’ve been doing for awhile, you know. People didn’t know that. So this week was a good opportunity for me to show people that I could outside and inside. And I can return in the kicking game, too. For me, it’s something I’ve been doing for awhile so it’s nothing new to me, but it is new to a lot of people. I wanted to come out here and turn some heads.
DN: One of your teammates that you were kind of in concert with quite a bit during your career was Donnie Miles. It seemed like you and him on the field were real good in terms of communication. Talk a little bit about that connection and really how that all came about.
Stewart: That’s my boy, man. Donnie’s my boy. This past year we roomed together. We just wanted to build that connection even further on the field. Sometimes we’d be up late studying. We go to the film room together and we see things from each other’s point of view so we’re on the same page.
DN: You go to the NC State game, you’re able to look-and-lean down the field. Made some plays in that game when you were challenged. You had to be the leader on the defense after losing Andre Smith a little bit earlier in the season, and then also (Cole) Holcomb, you lost him a little earlier as well. With those injuries, how much was the onus on you to step up even more as a leader?
Stewart: It was big. With all those vocal leaders down, I had to step up and be the big vocal leader. I tried to encompass that as best as I could.
DN: Who was the toughest receiver that you went against in your career and what was the one game you’d like for NFL scouts to see?
Stewart: Toughest receiver in my career. It’s hard. I’m a big believer in everybody’s good until you prove otherwise. You can’t sleep on anybody. But I’d have to say Justin Hardy (Atlanta Falcons) from ECU. When I played him I was a freshman and still trying to get my feet under me. And he was a veteran receiver so it was nice going against him. He was strong, very active, good routes. It was good seeing that early in my career.
DN: And then what was that one game you’d like for scouts to maybe point to for you in your career? Any year.
Stewart: I’d have to say this past year Miami (Fla.). I definitely was locked in. I’m locked in every game but I turned it up that game.
DN: No doubt man, best of luck in the draft.
Stewart: Thank you.
—-2018 Senior Bowl practices, DraftNasty staff reports
UPDATE: Stewart -ranked 57th on DraftNasty’s 2018 Big Board (No. 2 all-purpose player)- was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the 57th overall pick (2nd Round) in the 2018 NFL Draft.