What Is NFL Draft’s Mr. Irrelevant? History of the NFL Draft’s Last Pick

What does the term Mr. Irrelevant mean, what festivities surround the title, and who are the most notable last picks of the NFL Draft?

Since the 1976 NFL Draft, the last pick in each year’s draft has been given the title of Mr. Irrelevant. With 45 players having officially given been given the Mr. Irrelevant title and another 39 unofficially holding that title, what is the history behind the name, and what does it mean to be crowned Mr. Irrelevant as the final selection of the NFL Draft?

Desjuan Johnson, a DE from Toledo, was selected by the Los Angeles Rams with the last pick in this past year’s draft to become Mr. Irrelevant. Johnson made the Rams roster to start the season but has been inactive for the first two weeks.

The Origin of Mr. Irrelevant in the NFL Draft

In 1976, former USC and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Paul Salata began a series of events that were titled “Irrelevant Week.” The week involved the player given the title of Mr. Irrelevant being invited to Newport Beach, California.

That first Irrelevant Week began the tradition of awarding the final selection in the draft of the Mr. Irrelevant title. Salata was given the honor of announcing the last pick of the NFL Draft, which he continued to do until 2013. His daughter took over in 2014 and has continued the tradition since then.

The publicity surrounding the last pick of the draft grew to such a point that it led to teams making an effort to acquire that selection. Additionally, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle’s actions spurred the creation of the “Salata Rule,” which prohibits teams from passing in order to acquire the final pick of the NFL Draft.

Who Are the Most Notable Mr. Irrelevants in NFL Draft History?

Prior to the NFL Draft being reduced to seven rounds in 1994, Mr. Irrelevant often would struggle to make NFL rosters. Since then, the chance of Mr. Irrelevant making it onto an NFL roster has increased significantly, which makes sense given the greater concentration of talent selected each year.

In the past 47 years, a handful of players have far exceeded expectations after being selected as the final pick of the NFL Draft.

Brock Purdy, Quarterback

In 2022, former Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy did something no other Mr. Irrelevant had done before: Start a playoff game as a rookie.

Since 1994, when the draft officially moved to seven rounds, there have only been six seventh-round signal-callers to even appear in playoff games. But none, at that point, had done so as rookies.

MORE: Why Did the 49ers Draft Brock Purdy? A Look Back at Mr. Irrelevant

Purdy, who started the year as the third-string QB on the San Francisco 49ers’ roster, was thrust into the starting role due to injuries to both Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance. In his first appearance in Week 13, Purdy led his team to a 33-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins. During that game, he became the first Mr. Irrelevant to throw a touchdown pass.

Ryan Succop, Kicker

Super Bowl LV saw a monumental landmark for Mr. Irrelevant, as it was the first time a player who has received the title both played in and won a Super Bowl. Ryan Succop, the final pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, kicked four extra points and a field goal as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won 31-9.

mr irrelevant

In an intriguing twist of fate, Succop would help the Buccaneers defeat the team that originally selected him back in 2009, the Kansas City Chiefs. Also interestingly, the player taken just before Succop was TE Dan Gronkowski, older brother to future all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Perhaps most notably, the first player drafted in 2009 — 255 picks before Succop was taken — was Matthew Stafford. One year after Mr. Irrelevant earned his Super Bowl ring, he and the Bucs fell to Stafford and the Rams, who went on to win that year’s Super Bowl.

Jim Finn, Fullback

Succop was not the first Mr. Irrelevant to win a Super Bowl. That award went to Jim Finn with the New York Giants in 2007.

However, Finn never played a game during the 2007 season. Prior to the season, he was placed on injured reserve (IR), having been the Giants’ fullback for the previous four years.

Marty Moore, Linebacker

Marty Moore’s career itself does not stand out. In eight years, Moore recorded a total of 173 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, and three interceptions.

Nevertheless, Moore was the first Mr. Irrelevant to ever play in a Super Bowl. He was on the New England Patriots’ roster that lost 35-21 to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI.

Tyrone McGriff Sr., Guard

In terms of on-field performances, Tyrone McGriff Sr. stands out among Mr. Irrelevants. After being the final pick of the 1980 NFL Draft, he was named to the All-Rookie Team that season.

He would then play two more years for the Pittsburgh Steelers before moving to the USFL in 1983. McGriff won a league championship ring and was named to the USFL All-Star Team.

Who Are All the Mr. Irrelevant’s in NFL History?

The official title of Mr. Irrelevant has only been awarded since 1976. Here is the full list of the players to have officially been given the title.

1976 to 1990

  • 1976
    Kelvin Kirk, WR | Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 1977
    Jim Kelleher, RB | Minnesota Vikings
  • 1978
    Lee Washburn, G | Dallas Cowboys
  • 1979
    Mike Almond, WR | Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 1980
    Tyrone McGriff, G | Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 1981
    Phil Nelson, TE | Oakland Raiders
  • 1982
    Tim Washington, DB | San Francisco 49ers
  • 1983
    John Tuggle, RB | New York Giants (from WAS)
  • 1984
    Randy Essington, QB | Los Angeles Raiders
  • 1985
    Donald Chumley, DT | San Francisco 49ers
  • 1986
    Mike Travis, DB | San Diego Chargers
  • 1987
    Norman Jefferson, DB | Green Bay Packers (from NYG)
  • 1988
    Jeff Beathard, WR | Los Angeles Rams (from WAS)
  • 1989
    Everett Ross, WR | Minnesota Vikings (from SF via LA Raiders)
  • 1990
    Demetrius Davis, TE | Los Angeles Raiders (from SF)

1991 to 2000

  • 1991
    Larry Wanke, QB | New York Giants
  • 1992
    Matt Elliott, C | Washington
  • 1993
    Daron Alcorn, K | Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from DAL)
  • 1994
    Marty Moore, LB | New England Patriots (from DAL)
  • 1995
    Michael Reed, DB | Carolina Panthers
  • 1996
    Sam Manuel, LB | San Francisco 49ers
  • 1997
    Ronnie McAda, QB | Green Bay Packers
  • 1998
    Cam Quayle, TE | Baltimore Ravens
  • 1999
    Jim Finn, RB | Chicago Bears (from CLE)
  • 2000
    Michael Green, DB | Chicago Bears (from CLE)

2001 to 2010

  • 2001
    Tevita Ofahengaue, TE | Arizona Cardinals
  • 2002
    Ahmad Miller, DT | Houston Texans
  • 2003
    Ryan Hoag, WR | Oakland Raiders (from HOU)
  • 2004
    Andre Sommersell, LB | Oakland Raiders
  • 2005
    Andy Stokes, TE | New England Patriots
  • 2006
    Kevin McMahan, WR | Oakland Raiders
  • 2007
    Ramzee Robinson, CB | Detroit Lions
  • 2008
    David Vobora, OLB | St. Louis Rams
  • 2009
    Ryan Succop, K | Kansas City Chiefs
  • 2010
    Tim Toone, WR | Detroit Lions

2011 to 2023

  • 2011
    Cheta Ozougwu, DE | Houston Texans
  • 2012
    Chandler Harnish, QB | Indianapolis Colts
  • 2013
    Justice Cunningham, TE | Indianapolis Colts
  • 2014
    Lonnie Ballentine, S | Houston Texans
  • 2015
    Gerald Christian, TE | Arizona Cardinals
  • 2016
    Kalan Reed, CB | Tennessee Titans (from DEN)
  • 2017
    Chad Kelly, QB | Denver Broncos
  • 2018
    Trey Quinn, WR | Washington (from ATL)
  • 2019
    Caleb Wilson, TE | Arizona Cardinals
  • 2020
    Tae Crowder, LB | New York Giants
  • 2021
    Grant Stuard, LB | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • 2022
    Brock Purdy, QB | Iowa State
  • 2023
    Desjuan Johnson, DE | Toledo

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