HOUSTON — A University of Houston Cougar earned the distinct title of “Mr. Irrelevant” Saturday as he was the last player selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Linebacker Grant Stuard was selected in the seventh round, 259th overall, by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Stuard, a Conroe native, led the Cougars with 11 special teams tackles in 2018 and played running back later that year due to injuries at that position. He was named to the second-team All- American Athletic Conference as a junior, his first year as a full-time starter, leading the team with 97 tackles, 9.5 for loss, and breaking up four passes in 12 starts.
Stuard was voted to the first-team All-AAC in 2020 with a team-high 61 tackles (5 for loss) in seven starts.
Stuard joins two other Cougars who were drafted this year: defensive lineman Payton Turner, who was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the first round, and wide receiver Marquez Stevenson, who was picked by the Buffalo Bulls in the fifth round.
Turner, from Houston, was voted second-team all-AAC after leading the Cougars with 10.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in five games.
"He's got a lot of traits that we value,” said Saints head coach Sean Payton. “He was a high-energy player, he's prototype, his size. We really had this player as someone that you couldn't help but notice. The makeup was good.”
Stevenson, a Shreveport, La. native, started all 13 games for the Cougars in 2018, earning first-team All-AAC honors after posting 75 catches for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns. He was named to the first-team all-AAC again as a junior, leading the team in receiving (52 receptions, 907 yards, nine touchdowns) and tied for second in the FBS with two kickoff returns for touchdowns (17 returns, 473 yards). Stevenson started five games in 2020, missing time due to an ankle injury.