Making ’Mr. Irrelevant,‘ relevant. The Buccaneers 2021 draftee Grant Stuard, is not taking anything for granted and is slashing the stigma of ‘irrelevant.’
I’ve never really liked that moniker for the last pick. It just seems disrespectful to a kid coming out of college trying to make his NFL dreams come true. It makes it sound like he pretty much has no shot of getting a roster spot. He’s an afterthought and matters not. It just sounds like he’s a wasted pick, a throwaway, a dart blindly thrown on a name board and well, who cares, he doesn’t matter. I mean, why even pick this guy? But alas, someone has to be that last pick, right?
So someone who thought they were clever and funny conjured it up many years ago, but it just seems to be a slap in the face to someone working their butt off to fulfill their dream of NFL glory. It’s pick 259 of an NFL draft. The last pick. But that’s just the ’official’ draft. Let’s also not forget about the un-drafted players selected after that, as well as many others looking to make their way onto a team. So ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ just seems so pithy and dismissive.
Now, as I finally get around to my last, but certainly not least, initial, yet highly opinionated but generally basic evaluation of all 7 of the Buccaneers’ 2021 draftees, the focus this time is on Grant Stuard, LB/S out of Houston.
Stuard has certainly been making his mark in OTA’s and is taking on leadership roles; something he did back in Houston, that of which Coach Arians and his crew sees. He’s even transitioning himself with the mentality of that of an early round draftee, reaching deep into his (Christian) faith to give him the strength and metal fortitude to prove he deserves to be a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As he starts to carve out a spot on the roster, he’s looking to turn the ‘Irrelevant’ epithet, relevant.
It’s not going to be easy. After all, nothing worthwhile is, but Stuard realizes it’s going to be a tough hill to climb and knows what he needs to do to reach the top. He may not say it out loud, but you can rest assured he’s looking to bury the stigma of that ridiculous alias, and it’s not going unnoticed by Arians and the coaching staff either.
With a similar work ethic as another former beloved draftee, Riley Bullough, affectionately known to Bucs fandom as “Joe Dirt,” Stuard may just have that little bit extra something to actually crack into this final 53-man roster. Not that anyone trying to make an NFL team doesn’t have the drive and desire to give it their all, but Stuard seems to want to prove it just a tad bit more, to not only this team, but to himself and his family.
You can’t fault that. But as effort and desire go a long way in making an NFL team, Stuard seems to also have the skills and faith to back it up. You can hear it in his interviews and see it in OTAs. Stuard doesn’t take this opportunity lightly, or for granted, either.
If things go well and the injury bug stays at bay, having an inside linebacker backup duel between Grant Stuard and K.J. Britt will go a long way for the future of this Bucs team, especially once Lavonte David retires, a thought no one in Bucs land wants to even think about right now.
I hope, although I doubt, the ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ moniker will ever disappear from the draft, but maybe future last picks will shatter the stigma it carries, and turn it into a badge of honor. Grant Stuard, maybe you’ll start that trend this year by making ’Mr. Irrelevant,‘ relevant.