Ravens Player Profile: S Darian StewartPosted on July 15, 2014 by Rob Michels
College: South Carolina
Injuries have played a major role in Stewart’s career. He’s never played 16 games in his four year career. His best season came in 2011 when he started 13 of 15 games, and recorded 91 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception.
Ravens Assistant Head Coach and Secondary Coach Steve Spagnuolo was the Rams' head coach that year and coached Stewart first-hand.
Free safety was a hole the Ravens were looking to fill entering the offseason. Matt Elam started at free last year but is a natural strong safety and the plan is to play him there this year. Stewart was signed to a one year deal and appears to have the starting job opposite of Elam entering camp.
It’s an interesting signing mainly because General Manager Ozzie Newsome wanted to add a rangy, fast, playmaking center field which Stewart is not. He isn’t a fantastic cover safety and lacks pure athletic ability the Ravens appeared to be looking for.
It’s also worth noting the St. Louis Rams who Stewart has played his entire four year career with were not interested in resigning him. The Rams were hurting in the secondary and were looking for a similar style safety Newsome had in mind.
Last year Stewart played in 14 games and started six of those. According to Pro Football Focus he graded out negatively with a -0.8 grade. His pass coverage grade was a -0.1 to go with a -0.5 run stopping. Overall he was ranked as the 41st safety in the NFL by PFF.
The Ravens drafted Terrence Brooks in the third round out of Florida State to compete with Stewart. Brooks is the ideal safety that Newsome was looking for going into the offseason. He’s athletic and rangy but young, he’ll need some time to develop and it appears the Ravens are set on allowing Stewart to be a bridge safety until that time.
Stewart is a solid player and will add depth to a position that needed it. He has performed when healthy and should make an impact at times for the Ravens. Ravens fans should be excited to see Elam at his natural strong safety position and the battle between Brooks and Stewart in camp.
If Stewart’s injury history comes into play it could end up being Brooks’s job to lose by midseason. At the same time the Ravens coaching staff does a great job of getting the best out of players. I could see Stewart emerging as a playmaker this season and earning himself another year with the Ravens.