Licht: “He’s Strictly A Corner, Inside & Out”

May 18th, 2018

M.J. Stewart (Photo courtesy of

The cornerback who seems like the forgotten draft pick of 2018, M.J. Stewart taken No. 53 overall, was on the mind and lips of general manager Jason Licht yesterday.

So how is it going for Stewart so far and where will he play?

Safety won’t be the position, certainly not now. Licht said on WDAE-AM 620 yesterday. “Stewart is “strictly a corner,” Licht said, with the skills and makeup to perhaps learn the safety position one day.

So far, Stewart has impressed.

“He jumped right in there and was able to absorb all the information and all the plays we threw at him very quickly,” Licht said. “And, you know, an athletic guy, very strong, that’s not really going to show up in minicamp until we put the pads on [at training camp]. But very athletic, very strong, very smart, very instinctive.

“Right now, he’s strictly a corner, inside and out. I will say this, ‘He does have that skillset, that time of game that he plays. The traits that he has do suit, it looks like he could at some point play safety. But I’m not saying we’re going to do that. I’m just saying that’s a good thing when you have a corner that has that size, that strength, those instincts. Those are hard to find. He is a corner for us. He’s working at nickel. We’re working him outside, too. And you know, we’re pleased with the small sample size right now, but we’re pleased with the progression so far.”

Joe’s happy to hear the good report from the GM. Sure, it’s super early, but if Stewart is mentally-ready as Licht says, then that means he can compete was a rookie. And a real competition in camp is only going to help.

Barring the Bucs signing a rookie, the Bucs will have four very young players competing for one starting corner spot. The oldest of the bunch is 24-year-old Ryan Smith.

19 Responses to “Licht: “He’s Strictly A Corner, Inside & Out””

  1. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:

    Licht thought vh3 was a CB / football player too. Clearly he was wrong about that. Only time will tell but secondary is huge concern especially with unproven dline.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    What… comments about Buc coaches not being able to develop young CBs?

    Must be the other Joe.

  3. Joe Says:

    What… comments about Buc coaches not being able to develop young CBs?

    Until they actually do, this concept the current Bucs defensive coaches can develop rookie corners is no different than the urban legend of a neighborhood unicorn urinating in people’s pools and eating the shrubs.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Oh no Joe, you saw that unicorn too. Jason Licht claimed the same thing right after he swore that Ryan Smith was strictly a safety.

  5. Not there yet Says:

    I have never in my life heard of a coach developing a rookie who turned into a day one starter and I will say it until people admit how stupid it sounds. I would love to see javien elloit and Ryan Smith go somewhere else and be developed into starters.

    Our db coaches suck but hey Mark duffner is a guru, Kwon you have no talent, you were simply developed in a couple months to come in and beat out a veteran.

    If Carlton Davis becomes a major contributor or starter it had nothing to do with him it’ll only be thanks to the amazing coaching that gave him the wisdom to actually read and react or cover an NFL receiver lol who needs talent when you can just be developed by a coach, no such thing as natural instincts at all

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I am one who believes the player matters…is it possible some players are more developable than others? I think so.

  7. Frank Pillow Says:

    I wonder if VHIII is in danger of losing a roster spot? I’m sure he’ll be give every opportunity to succeed, but drafting an inside-out CB as our first DB pick this year is interesting. Maybe it implies VHIII will be an outside-in guy, but there doesn’t seem to be much praise for the kid or his potential lately.

  8. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    How do you know if Licht is fibbing? his lips are moving…..LIcht: “Ryan Smith is strictly a safety.” I speak Lichtese so basically he is saying that stewart is a corner until we realize he is a safety….marpet is a center until we realize he is not things like this get you 5-11

  9. Not there yet Says:

    Tampa Bay coaches are simply horrible, can’t believe Raheem Morris who known for being a good position coach wasn’t called out by media for ruining the career of Myron Lewis lol so stupid, Raheem you should be banned from coaching, you couldn’t develop a third round bust. Guess everyone Joe Cullen coached will end up in the hall of fame.

  10. Pryda ...sec147 Says:

    I bet we sign a Veteran CB to battle it out come training camp but these rooks and VHG3 will beat out said CB.

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    Frank Pillow –

    Hargreaves’ entire 4 year contract is fully guaranteed. It would cost over $8M in dead cap space to cut him this year. So Vernon will obviously be here through 2019. And if he continued to struggle over the next 2 years and gets benched or whatever – then he just would become a non-playing back up unless someone(s) got injured – and he wouldn’t be offered a 2nd contract.

    I say all of that is unlikely. That at some point – probably sooner than later – the kid (and he is still a kid at just 22) will get some things figured out and will regain his confidence – and whalla – will start looking like an NFL player again – one who actually – yaknow – makes plays…

    VH3 might even be “come back player of the year” for the Bucs in 2018 if the DLine can actually pressure the QB with 4 rushers on any kind of consistent basis this year…

  12. Wausa Says:

    I don’t think VH3 will start. My guess is our starting DB’s game 1 will be Davis, Grimes, Stewart, Evans and Conte.

    VH3 will be the 4th corner on the team after Stewart, Davis and Grimes.

  13. 813bucboi Says:

    glad to see licht and this staff learn from their mistakes…..


  14. Owlykat Says:

    After reading both Athlon’s rating on Stewart (3rd round pick) and Lindy’s rating of him, I am still scratching my head as to why Licht thought Stewart was better than Davis, who is starter quality, or Oliver, another big CB like Davis, who could have been a starter for us when Grimes retires. Stewart looks like a bad pick and a major reach by Licht who missed on VHIII too and was foolish to give him a four year guaranteed contract to sign him. I will keep an open mind and will watch Stewart as he is developed. I do like all the other picks by Licht in this year’s draft.

  15. teacherman777 Says:

    Don’t count Jordan Whitehead out as a potential starting nickel!

    I think he could be a great CB too!

    Honey Badger 2.0.


    Jordan Whitehead might be our next Kwon!

    A 4th round superstar!

    Teacherman is calling it!

  16. Atlanta Buc Says:

    Teacherman 777, Agreed! I have heard great things about Whitehead from my Pittsburgh friends who know a few things about football. Still scratching my head about where we took Stewart in the draft though, but hey, he had a great SR bowl week of practice? Hopefully he is a diamond-in-the-rough as well. I do hope we did not fall in love with Vea’s physical size versus his actual game performance; a high price to pay to get him in the top half of the first round and then only use him part-time for two downs just to plug holes. I think Sapp has a point about guys that big in the Florida heat, down in and down out, it is very difficult to consistently get penetration at a high level carrying that much weight.

  17. SOEbuc Says:

    Stewart is an All-ACC shut down slot corner. He’s fast and very good at sticking with his receivers and that’s why Licht brought him in for the revamping of the defense. Carlton Davis is gonna be closer to the line, Stewart will be at the classic slot position, and Grimes is going to play his usual off position. I hope he can win the competition and succeed. He stays on guys like white on a white person and that’s a very good thing across the middle.

  18. Destinjohnny Says:

    Jason isn’t the best at evaluating corners.

  19. Bucwatcher Says:

    VH3 is a BUST. Davis is a better CB right now than VH3 will ever be. VH3 will be used on special teams. And he’ll suck at that also.