After just a few months of learning the safety position, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have moved M.J. Stewart back to cornerback.
Long live the “M.J. Stewart is a safety” span in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history as it has already come to an end. According to Greg Auman of The Athletic, Stewart was directed back toward the cornerback room on Sunday.
This move could have been a potential necessity after the suspension of fellow cornerback Ryan Smith for the first four games of the 2019 season after being busted for using a banned substance. It was just in March when Stewart was told he would be switching positions and moving to the third level of the defense.
A second round pick out of North Carolina a year ago, Stewart started five games in the nickel for the Buccaneers, appearing in 11 games total. In that span of games, Stewart managed 31 solo tackles, two tackles for loss, two hits on opposing quarterbacks, and three passes defended.
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Stewart has been getting reps in the nickel at camp thus far as well; defensive coordinator Todd Bowles loves to use multitudes of defensive backs in certain packages, so Stewart should not struggle to find the field. Especially with the suspension of Smith, the Buccaneers will need Stewart to fill the role of their fifth cornerback.
Stewart is hopeful to find a spot on the Buccaneers’ defense as he looks to be practically displaced just one year after being a second round selection. With the fast emergence of rookies Sean Murphy-Bunting, Jamel Dean, and Mike Edwards in the secondary, the veterans are fighting for a spot on the field.
For now, Stewart moves back to cornerback at least until Smith returns from his suspension. It will be interesting to see the roster moves the Buccaneers make once Smith is back from his suspension, including where on the field Stewart will move next.