April 26, 2009
They are often said (incorrectly) to be the most irrelevant players on the field, so it's almost fitting that 2009's Mr. Irrelevant is a kicker. South Carolina's Ryan Succop earned the honor when the Kansas City Chiefs selected him with the 256th and final pick in this year's NFL draft.
And, don't think it's not an honor. Despite the playful-mocking that comes along with becoming Mr. Irrelevant, it's a fine accomplishment for any player, from quarterback to kicker. There were hundreds of guys sitting around their TVs at 7:30 p.m. tonight wanting to hear their name get called by the award's founder, Paul Salata.
Sure, NFL observers say that once the draft gets down to the final few picks, it's better for a player not to get selected so they can sign a free-agent contract with a team of their own choosing. And that's a logical, practical point that is doubtlessly true. But I can't imagine there are too many college players dreaming of signing a free-agent contract after they leave school. Getting drafted is the dream, and Succop is only one of 256 young men who can say that he achieved that this year.
Succop was 20-30 in his field-goal attempts (and a perfect 30-30 in extra points) for Steve Spurrier's team in 2008. He didn't make the All-SEC team, but still was the fifth-rated kicker on Mel Kiper's board. New Chiefs GM Scott Pioli apparently saw enough in Succop to make him one of two kickers taken this year (and only the third kicker ever to be selected with the final pick of a draft.)
The 22-year-old will likely compete with incumbent kicker Connor Barth for the starting position in Kansas City. He will be feted at Irrelevant Week in Newport Beach, Calif., this June. Judging by this picture, Succop should have no problem dealing with the attention.
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