No question: Michael Sam stole Mr. Irrelevant's thunder this year.
One of the more memorable seventh rounds in NFL draft history ended with the Houston Texans — who kicked off the draft by selecting Jadeveon Clowney nearly 48 hours ago — taking Memphis DB Lonnie Ballentine.
With the FINAL pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select Memphis DB Lonnie Ballentine. pic.twitter.com/Xrdpognrra— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) May 10, 2014
Lonnie Ballentine, Mr. Irrelevant, said, "I was emotional when I found out I was drafted. Tears were running down my face."— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) May 10, 2014
So who is the 39th annual Mr. Irrelevant?
Well, right off the bat it's hard not to notice his intriguing size — 6-foot-3 and 219 pounds, which is whopping for a safety or corner. (Notice the Texans listed him as a DB.)
We found his college bio page from Memphis, and the most interesting nugget — other than the fact that he's married with two children — is that his mother, Sheila, played college basketball at Murray State and later played professionally in France.
How about that? So Ballentine, if he makes the Texans or another roster, won't even be the first professional athlete in his family.
According to NFL.com's draft profile, Ballentine had a terrific pro day workout that included some sub-4.4-second 40-yard dash times and a 38-inch vertical jump. It also lists his ability to flash "straight-line striking ability when he has a clean angle" among his positives.
Under weaknesses, Ballentine is listed as not playing to his timed speed, having a track mentality and having "marginal career production on the ball."
But the Texans might have found a project to work on — he was projected to go in the sixth or seventh rounds. Here's his overview:
"A long-limbed, rangy back-half defender with intriguing straight-line speed, range and leaping ability to compete for a job as a backup safety and special-teams performer. Has intriguing physical tools to be molded if he bows up."
Mr. Irrelevant is honored at a ceremony every year in Newport Beach, Calif., and this year's event takes place July 8-12, benefitting Special Olympics Southern California.
- - - - - - -