Grant Stuard NFL Draft Overview
Weight: 225 pounds
Grant Stuard 2021 NFL Draft Profile
Stuard is one of the most energetic defensive prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft class. He’s twitchy and flies around the field as a man possessed looking for contact. The former Houston Cougar plays above his size at 225 pounds and the film is incredibly fun to watch. However, very few players at that size can play every down at linebacker in the NFL. Couple Stuard’s lack of size for the position with below-average sideline-to-sideline range means he will struggle at the next level barring improvement.
Born and raised in Conroe, Texas, Stuard was a two-time first-team All-District selection at Oak Ridge High School. He played linebacker as a sophomore and junior in high school but switched to safety for his senior year. Stuard received several Division One offers and committed to Houston in January 2017.
Stuard contributed on special teams as a true freshman but ultimately missed a lot of time with a torn meniscus. As a sophomore, he led the team with 11 tackles on special teams and made 30 tackles overall in 11 games for the Cougars. His production took a big leap in 2019. As a junior, Stuard made 97 total tackles including 9.5 tackles for loss and he earned second-team All-AAC honors. In his final year, Stuard racked up 61 total tackles in just seven games. Stuard was voted a first-team All-American Athletic Conference selection as a senior and accepted an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
- Energy is infectious – flies around the field and rallies the troops;
- Legitimate playing speed attacking downhill – plays with an aggressive mentality;
- Has a nose for the ball carrier in the run game – very productive;
- Good tackler – gathers momentum quickly to hit harder than you’d expect from a defender of his size;
- Special Teams ace in college.
- Undersized – it’s a shame, but he quite simply doesn’t fill space in the passing lanes;
- Lateral movement isn’t smooth – tight hips;
- The athleticism isn’t elite for a position switch to safety;
- Can get caught guessing – doesn’t have a feel for play-action;
- Made very few impact plays – zero interceptions and no forced fumbles in his college career.
NFL Comparison: Deone Bucannon
Projection: Day 3 Pick
Bottom Line on Grant Stuard
Stuard is a joy to watch on tape. He flies around the field desperate to make a play to energize his football team. He wraps up in the tackle and can lay a big hit on the ball carrier when he has a free shot. When he reads the play correctly and gets a beat on the snap he is electric playing upfield. His special-teams exploits at Houston also give him added value in the draft.
However, he faces an uphill task to make it in the NFL due to his lack of size and length for the linebacker position. He also doesn’t have a great feel for zone coverage to make a position switch back to safety, where he played his final year in high school. Stuard has good straight-line speed but his tight hips don’t allow him to change direction quickly. He’s liable to not catch up to a counter, a reverse, or play-action if he bites hard on the initial read.
Special teams is probably Stuard’s best path onto a roster late in the draft. The good news is he excelled as a freshman and sophomore on special teams duty in college. His straight-line speed to get down the field as a gunner will serve him well. The more he excels on special teams the more likely it is Stuard can earn playing time on defense.
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