When you are the final player selected in a draft, not much is expected of you. Through pro football history, the list of last-drafted players — known as “Mr. Irrelevant” for decades — isn’t all that distinguished. You could argue that Tyrone McGriff, the guard from Florida A&M selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 333rd pick in the 12th round of the 1980 draft, was the most successful. McGriff played just three NFL seasons, but he was named to the 1980 NFL All-Rookie team, which is nice. The most successful Mr. Irrelevant in recent years has been kicker Ryan Succop, selected out of South Carolina by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 256th pick of the 2009 draft. Succop is still in the NFL, doing well for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he’s got a Super Bowl ring for his work with the 2020 Bucs.
That said, the most recent Mr. Irrelevant might be the most important to date. San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Brock Purdy, who the 49ers took with the 262nd pick in the 2022 draft out of Iowa State, had himself quite the game on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins after Jimmy Garoppolo exited the game in the first quarter. Garoppolo was carted off the field after he was sacked by Dolphins edge-rusher Jaelan Phillips with 11:22 left in the first quarter, and Purdy — who had completed four of nine passes for 66 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception in mop-up duty San Francisco’s 44-23 Week 7 loss to the Chiefs in his only regular-season action to date — turned things around pretty decisively.
It didn’t take long for Purdy to prove that he could run the offense. With 4:52 left in the first quarter, he zinged this three-yard touchdown pass to fullback Kyle Juszczyk, allowing Purdy to make a bit of pro football history.
Purdy impressed at least one former 49ers defender with some high quarterback standards.
In the end, and in a crucial 33-17 win that pushed his team to 8-4 on the season, Purdy completed 25 of 37 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and a passer rating of 88.8.
And with the unfortunate news that Garoppolo’s ankle injury is season-ending, Purdy will become the first Mr. Irrelevant to start a game at quarterback. Next Sunday. Against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Purdy seems unfazed by the idea.
So… yeah. Go ahead and crown him, NFL.