Grant Stuard has had a fun football journey.
He almost went to Yale or Navy, but went to Houston instead. Stuard became an energetic linebacker for the Cougars, his long hair flowing out of his helmet whenever he was flying around on defense or special teams.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held the final pick of the draft, No. 259 overall. And with the so-called Mr. Irrelevant pick, the defending champs picked Stuard.
He was a team captain last season and first-team all-conference after leading the team with 61 tackles. He might become a fan favorite pretty fast in Tampa Bay.
Mr. Irrelevant last year started games as a rookie
Last year was a good one for Mr. Irrelevant.
Tae Crowder was the final pick of the draft to the New York Giants, and the linebacker had a promising rookie season. Crowder started six games, posted 72 tackles and even had a fumble return for a touchdown. That's a great start to an NFL career for any seventh-round pick.
An old Mr. Irrelevant also had a banner year. Kicker Ryan Succop, probably the most successful Mr. Irrelevant, became the first Mr. Irrelevant to score in a Super Bowl according to the Irrelevant Week organizers. Succop got a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He had a great season at age 34, hitting 90.3 percent of his field-goal attempts for the champs. Over Succop's 12 NFL seasons with three teams, he has made 83 percent of his field goals.
Stuard should be pleased if he's able to keep that streak going.
Last year's Irrelevant Week festivities were called off
Last year, being Mr. Irrelevant didn't come with the normal fanfare over the summer. Due to COVID-19 issues, there was no weeklong celebration for Crowder.
The website for Mr. Irrelevant and Irrelevant Week said Crowder has the watch, trophy and gear sent from the Irrelevant Week organizers displayed in his apartment. This year, the player drafted last will get all of the usual treatment.
“We’re passionate and persistent about getting to celebrate him,” Melanie Salata Fitch, the daughter of Mr. Irrelevant creator Paul Salata (who announced the final pick of this year's draft), said on the website. “It was just hard to do last year. Tae doesn’t know what Irrelevant Week is like. But he was excited to get the gifts.”
There is typically a week of events in Newport Beach, California, to celebrate the final pick of the draft. That includes a trip to Disneyland and a Lowsman Banquet in which Mr. Irrelevant gets a trophy of a player fumbling a ball. It's all in good fun.
Stuard should have a good time in California, and then the work of making the Buccaneers roster really begins.
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