With the 259th and final pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected LB Grant Stuard out of Houston.
Grant Stuard, who spent four years at Houston as a linebacker, safety and kick returner, was a bit of a wild card to get drafted. Across his four years in college, Stuard had one touchdown, 190 tackles, four pass deflections and recovered a single fumble. But in 2020, he was named team captain, leading the team with 61 tackles, giving him an 8.7 tackle-per-game average. And the previous season, Stuard led the team with 97 tackles, 9.5 for loss, and broke up four passes in 12 games as a full-time starter. In both of those seasons (2019 and 2020), Stuard earned All-American Athletic Conference honors.
Stuard currently stands alone as the only player from Houston on Tampa Bay’s roster. He also was the third player from Houston to be drafted this year. The other two were DE Payton Turner (Saints) and WR Marquez Stevenson (Bills). In addition, Stuard is the fifth Houston linebacker to get drafted since 2000. The others being Emeke Egbule (2019), Matthew Adams (2018), Tyus Bowser (2017) and Elandon Roberts (2016).
Stuard projects to play linebacker for the Bucs. He is very athletic at 6’1″, 225 pounds, and certainly has the versatility for potentially being in the mix to play other positions (safety, fullback, etc).
Buccaneers LB Room: Shaquil Barrett, Quinton Bell, K.J. Britt, Lavonte David, Cam Gill, Kevin Minter, Anthony Nelson, Jason Pierre-Paul, Joe Tryon, Devin White and now Grant Stuard.
Conclusion: Stuard will have to work incredibly hard to make the Bucs roster. However, with a strong showing in camps and pre-season, he does have a shot.