Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Buccaneers-Colts trade grades: Former ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ Grant Stuard headed to Indy

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USA Today

With the 4 p.m. ET roster cutdown deadline looming, the Buccaneers and Colts pulled off a trade involving second-year inside linebacker Grant Stuard. Along with Stuard, the Buccaneers sent a 2023 seventh-round pick to the Colts in exchange for Indianapolis’ sixth-round pick in the upcoming draft. 

The “Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2021 NFL Draft, Stuard recorded 15 tackles and a forced fumble as a rookie while primarily playing special teams. He received defensive snaps in three games last season while helping the Buccaneers win their first division title since 2007. 

Stuard played his college football at Houston, where he saw time as a defensive back and running back before moving to linebacker before his senior season. Named as a team captain before the start of the 2020 season, Stuard led Houston in tackles while leading the American Athletic Conference in average tackles per game. 

Stuard joins a Colts linebacker corps that is led by Darius Leonard, a three-time All-Pro who last season led the NFL with eight forced fumbles. With Stuard’s departure, the Buccaneers now have five inside linebackers including starters Lavonte David and Devin White. K.J. Britt, a fifth-round pick in last year’s draft, is expected to be David and White’s primary backup. 

How did both teams fare in this trade? Here’s how the Buccaneers and Colts graded out. 

Colts: A 

The Colts didn’t give up much to acquire a 23-year-old player who has considerable potential. Stuard is also an accomplished special teams player who can more than hold his own when asked to play linebacker. He’s a nice addition to a team that is looking to add depth to the middle of its defense. 

Buccaneers: B

Give credit to the Buccaneers for getting something in return for a player they weren’t intending to keep. That being said, it’s somewhat of a surprise that the Buccaneers decided to part ways with a player whose best football should be ahead of him. 

How Stuard fares in Indianapolis will ultimately determine who won this trade, but for now, it appears that the Colts got the better end of the deal. 

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