Grant Stuard was emotional after being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; even if it was the last pick.
“The G.M. told me, ‘you don’t have to think about where you’re going in free agency, because we’re going to get you right now with the last pick,’ and I just started crying and turning up with my family,” said Stuard.
In the moments leading up to that call, he had accepted he wouldn’t be drafted. Teams who had spoken with him had gone in different directions, so as the last picks came in, his phone was ringing for different reasons; free agency.
“I had already made a deal with a team that I was going to go there (as a free agent) and I was going to be a part of their organization,” explained Stuard. “So it was almost like a pleasant surprise, if anything, whenever Tampa Bay called my phone with the last pick, and I thought they were calling me about free agency like the rest of the teams.”
There are major benefits to being the last pick in the draft, otherwise known as “Mr. Irrelevant.” The NFL typically flies Mr. Irrelevant and his family to Disneyland, a visit at NFL studios in Los Angeles, and a pretty high-profile media tour. COVID has changed some of that, but Stuard said he’s heard a trip to Disney World in Florida could be a possibility.
The title of “Mr. Irrelevant” also tends to give another gift; an automatic chip on your shoulder.
“I’m definitely going into Tampa Bay super-duper grateful that they took a shot on me, and I’m going to make it worth their while,” said Stuard.
Stuard says he suspects there will be some automatic chemistry with fellow rookies, since he’s friends with a few of the other Bucs draft choices.