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Second-round knockout: M.J. Stewart forces fumble from Ronald Jones

Fellow Bucs rookie M.J. Stewart forces fumble in 11-on-11 work in first practice in full pads.
Bucs rookie cornerback M.J. Stewart, shown at Friday's practice, made a big play Sunday in forcing a fumble from fellow rookie Ronald Jones.
(OCTAVIO JONES | Times)
Bucs rookie cornerback M.J. Stewart, shown at Friday's practice, made a big play Sunday in forcing a fumble from fellow rookie Ronald Jones. (OCTAVIO JONES | Times)
Published Jul. 29, 2018

Two of the Bucs' second-round draft picks came together on one play early in 11-on-11 work Sunday as the team had its first practice in full pads, and you might be surprised who made the big play.

Running back Ronald Jones, the No. 38 overall pick out of USC, ran the ball in an inside run drill and cornerback M.J. Stewart, the No. 53 overall pick from North Carolina, knocked the ball loose for a fumble.

"First play of inside run, he had a big hit on Ronald Jones, got the ball out. That was a nice play," coach Dirk Koetter said, noting that Stewart is cross-training both at nickel and outside corner.

Stewart has helped himself by quickly learning the defense, Koetter said, a transition that not all rookies pick up as easily.

"M.J., the thing that gives him an edge is he's smart," Koetter said. "Some guys, when they come in here, they're swimming in terminology, and that's not the case. He knows what he's doing."

Jones, competing with Peyton Barber for the primary ballcarrier role in the offense, has picked things up well so far but said his focus wasn't what it needed to be and it turned into a turnover.

"Again, just being too lackadaisical, not realizing guys will keep coming, so I have to finish every play," Jones said of the fumble.

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