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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: LB Grant Stuard

  • The Draft Network
  • January 19, 2021
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Houston linebacker Grant Stuard is a joy to watch on film. He is an elite competitor that plays a physical and aggressive brand of football. He is excellent at processing the run, triggering downhill, and hunting the football. He thrives in condensed spaces and he is relentless in pursuit. His motor is always cranked and he knows no other speed than full speed. The challenge with Stuard is that for as exciting as he is to watch at Houston flying around the field, his skill set is quite limited when forecasting him to the NFL. He is a modest athlete that lacks length. His range is limited and he doesn’t project well to playing in coverage or space in the NFL. With that in mind, his best chance to stick is to excel on special teams like he did in college and has 500 reps of experience doing so. Stuard can be a reserve linebacker that provides value in short-yardage packages and on special teams. 

Ideal Role: Special teams ace, short-yardage linebacker.

Scheme Fit: 3-4.


Written by: Joe Marino 

Games watched: BYU (2020), UCF (2020), Memphis (2020), USF (2020)  

Best Game Studied: Memphis (2020)

Worst Game Studied: BYU (2020) 

Tackling: Stuard is a physical and aggressive tackler that has good hitting power and contact balance. His low center of gravity can lead to impactful hits and he does well to aim low and wrap. With that said, his lack of length creates challenges for him to finish outside of his frame and his radius is quite small. 

Football IQ: Stuard is a smart processor against the run. He keys, diagnoses, and triggers rapidly and he does well to get ahead of blocks. While he has limitations in coverage, Stuard does well to keep things in front of him. 

Competitive Toughness: Stuard is an elite competitor. Everything he does is physical and aggressive. He has exceptional enthusiasm in pursuit and he never gives up on a play. He should be a special teams demon in the NFL. He’s never passive and always aggressive. 

Pass Coverage Ability: Stuard does have the length, range, and fluidity to excel in coverage. With that said, he does a good job of staying leveraged in his drops, keeping things in front of him, and tacking. He is not a candidate to carry tight ends and running backs into space in man coverage. 

Run Defending: Stuard has a great feel for processing and defending inside run. He trusts his keys, triggers quickly, and is a strong finisher. While he doesn’t have ideal range, he thrives in condensed areas of the field with his ability to slip blocks and hunt the ball. 

Block Deconstruction: Stuard is better at getting ahead of and slipping blocks than he is deconstructing them. Stuard lacks the ideal length needed to maintain separation and unhinge. While he competes hard to clear contact, his size creates some restrictions in doing so. 

Lateral Mobility: Stuard is a smooth mover but he isn’t super explosive. His range is lacking and he doesn’t have the ideal speed to play sideline to sideline. With that said, his effort alone helps make up for some deficiencies when it comes to speed and explosiveness. 

Flexibility: Stuard has a compact frame, so nothing appears tight or restrictive. While I wouldn’t call him explosive, he plays fast and competes. With that said, he isn’t super springy in all directions despite him playing with elite hustle. He does navigate well through tight spaces and sniffs out the football. 

Leadership: Stuard was a team captain for Houston and it’s obvious that he leads by example. Everything he does is executed with maximum effort and he doesn’t know any other speed besides full speed. He’s an elite competitor. 

Versatility: Stuard has 500 snaps of special teams experience at Houston, which is where he will make his hay in the NFL. He has some appeal as a short-yardage linebacker that can attack downhill, but playing regular snaps as an off-ball linebacker in today’s NFL with the pace and space concepts that exist will be a challenge for Stuard. While he has limitations, he can find a role. 

Prospect Comparison: Tyler Matakevich (2016 NFL Draft, Pittsburgh Steelers) 


TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Joe Marino: 67.5/100

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