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Houston’s Grant Stuard picked by Tampa Bay Buccaneers, becomes newest Mr. Irrelevant

Grant Stuard became the newest member of the Mr. Irrelevant fraternity on Saturday.
Grant Stuard, a linebacker from the University of Houston, was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 259th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, becoming the newest member of the Mr. Irrelevant fraternity on Saturday.
(Courtesy of University of Houston Athletics)

Celebrating the underdog is what Irrelevant Week is all about, but where the newest member of the Mr. Irrelevant fraternity is going, his team will be anything but.

The Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Houston linebacker Grant Stuard with the 259th and final pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday in Cleveland.

“It felt amazing,” Stuard said of hearing his name called. “I wasn’t expecting to even go in the draft, at that point, you know. That was the last pick. I was kind of just waiting to make my free agency deal, waiting to talk to those coaches and stuff like that.

“It was amazing, just having that moment with my family, all the people around me that I love, so it just was awesome. I just felt like God’s promise was fulfilled in my life, so I’m good.”

Stuard averaged an American Athletic Conference-leading 8.7 tackles per game for Houston in 2020, a senior season during which he served as a team captain for the Cougars.

During a four-year career at Houston, Stuard amassed 190 tackles and 17 tackles for a loss.

“I’ve known it since I was little,” Stuard said of chasing his dream to play in the NFL. “I realized I had the ability to be great. I realized I had the ability to be the best, and so I’m still going after that goal of being the best that I can possibly be.”

There have been multiple success stories for the Mr. Irrelevant family, which now welcomes its 46th member, within the last year alone.

Tae Crowder, who was chosen by the New York Giants with the last pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, made the roster. Irrelevant Week CEO Melanie Salata Fitch said that Crowder, a linebacker out of Georgia, became the first Mr. Irrelevant to score a defensive touchdown.

Ryan Succop, the Mr. Irrelevant selected in 2009, won Super Bowl LV with the Buccaneers.

Stuard now will look to take advantage of his opportunity to make his own mark.

“I’m going to do my absolute best not [just] to make the team, but to establish an important role on the team,” Stuard said. “That is what I’m striving towards is becoming important to the organization, becoming important to the guys in the locker room, and to have something to do with the success of the team.”

The Irrelevant Week festivities, which are traditionally held in Newport Beach, remain in the planning stage due to COVID-19 and the availability of the honoree, Salata Fitch said.

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