Each day leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, we will take a look at prospects that should be on the Carolina Panthers' radar. We will look at roughly eleven prospects per round to give a better idea of potential draftees beyond just the first round.
Here's our schedule for the next 80 days:
1st Round: Feb. 8th - Feb. 21st
2nd Round: Feb. 22nd - Mar. 6th
3rd Round: Mar. 7th - Mar. 18th
4th Round: Mar. 19th - Mar. 28th
5th Round: Mar. 29th - Apr. 7th
6th Round: Apr. 8th - Apr. 17th
7th Round: Apr. 18th - Apr. 27th
Prospect No. 77: LB Grant Stuard
Height: 6'1" Weight: 225 lbs
Draft range: 6th-7th
Analysis: After what happened last year with Tahir Whitehead, you never want to be put in that situation again. Denzel Perryman should be a major improvement but he has to stay healthy. Stuard doesn't need to come in right away and make an impact defensively. He can serve on the special teams unit and learn all three linebacker positions until he is ready to settle into a role defensively.
Fitting the modern mold of a run-and-chase WILL linebacker, Stuard brings outstanding effort and energy to the position that can be infectious to the rest of the defense. Playing a lot of SAM linebacker for the Cougars, Stuard has a lot of experience as an overhang defender. This has given him opportunities to play and navigate space, working from depth and playing a variety of coverages. Stuard has adequate redirection skills in space, easily changing direction and driving on underneath routes. With tweener size, Stuard is a perfect fit as a base defender. He lacks the size and power profile to hold up at the point of attack, getting swallowed up far too often. Stuard can overrun blocks, relying more on speed than physicality. Special teams will be the name of the game for Stuard, cashing in on that energizer bunny style. He’s a candidate to hear his name late on Day 3, providing energy, athleticism and coverage versatility to a defense on the second level.
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