Prior to Saturday, Panthers rookie running back Jonathan Stewart was sliding down draft boards, slowly.
But Stewart's 10-carry, 100-yard weekend performance should have restored your confidence, and reminded you why he was the 13th overall pick in the draft. The 235-pound punisher has the skill set of an NFL feature back, though he's likely to share the rushing workload evenly with Williams this season, assuming both players stay healthy and effective. (Actually, DeShaun Foster taught us last year that effectiveness may not be a prerequisite). Don't overreact to the committee here. This team's line looks terrific; the Panthers will run early, often and well. Stewart might also return kicks, so if you're looking to make a Maurice Jones-Drew comparison, there's the final piece.
If you're not familiar with his work, check the highlights of Carolina's 47-3 mauling of the Redskins. Stewart's 50-yard touchdown run begins near the 1:42 mark. He gained approximately 48 more yards than Foster would have on that play. Everything is on display there: strength, balance, vision, and a burst of speed that Kareem Moore clearly didn't expect.
Stewart's current ADP is 72.4 at Mock Draft Central, which isn't consistent with his position on the Big Board or his placement in the preseason Yahoo! RB ranks. In this case, it just doesn't take much of a reach to get a player with an extremely high ceiling.
Photo via Getty Images
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