Bucs Waive Former 2nd-Round Pick M.J. Stewart

J. Kanno

The Buccaneers have let go of their second-round pick from the 2018 draft, defensive back M.J. Stewart. Tampa announced they waived Stewart along with the activation of 2020 third-round pick, running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn, off the COVID-19 reserve list:

The Bucs selected Stewart with their first of two picks in the second round of the 2018 draft, using the other on cornerback Carlton Davis. Whereas Davis has become one of the best players on Tampa's defense, Stewart languished as tweener with no defined role or discernable impact.

In two seasons, Stewart played in 21 games and recorded 68 tackles, 5 pass breakups and two tackles for a loss. His lack of playmaking ability became hard to ignore as peers like Davis, Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting quickly established themselves as rising stars.

The beginning of the end was the drafting of DB Mike Edwards in 2019. Edwards and Stewart have remarkably similar physical profiles and skill sets. Edwards just happened to be better at applying those skills on game day, exceeding Stewart in nearly every statistic in half the time.

With Stewart gone, the Bucs' defensive back room becomes clearer. Davis, Dean, Murphy-Bunting and Edwards should be joined by fellow draft picks Jordan Whitehead, Ryan Smith and Antoine Winfield. Stewart's departure opens up one more roster spot for the likes of undrafted free agent Parnell Motley.

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