NFL draft: Mr. Irrelevant meaning, origin and history
What is Mr. Irrelevant? Meaning, origin and history originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
After three days, seven rounds and over 250 selections, the NFL draft comes to a close each year with the selection of Mr. Irrelevant.
It’s definitely not as coveted a title as “No. 1 pick” or “first-rounder” by any means. Still, Mr. Irrelevant gets to join an NFL team – and an exclusive club of draftees dating back to the 1970s.
So what does the title of Mr. Irrelevant even mean? Here’s a look back at the history and origin of the nickname:
What does Mr. Irrelevant mean?
Mr. Irrelevant is the title given to the last player selected in a given NFL draft.
When did Mr. Irrelevant originate?
While the draft has been an NFL staple since 1936, it wasn’t until the 1970s that Mr. Irrelevant originated.
Former USC and NFL wide receiver Paul Salata founded “Mr. Irrelevant” and “Irrelevant Week” in 1976. Wideout Kelvin Kirk earned the distinction that year after being selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 487th pick.
Salata got to announce the final pick in each draft through 2013 before his daughter took over the duties. It’s not until the summer that Irrelevant Week takes place in Newport Beach, Calif., with a series of events.
One of the main outings from the week is the annual Lowsman Banquet, which celebrates the newest member of the club each year. The gala includes the awarding of the Lowsman Trophy, a spoof of the Heisman Trophy that portrays a player fumbling the ball:
“I – and the entire team at Irrelevant Week – remain steadfast in our commitment to applauding those who exude the principles of enduring effort and sportsmanship,” Salata said. “The Irrelevant Week tradition shares an inspirational story about a champion of perseverance – and that’s an important message for today’s society.”
Over 46 years, Irrelevant Week has contributed more than $1 million in charitable donations.
Who was the best Mr. Irrelevant in NFL history?
Since 1976, only five Mr. Irrelevants have played more than 50 career NFL games.
Center Matt Elliott, Mr. Irrelevant in 1992, played 63 games for Washington and the Carolina Panthers. Marty Moore played 112 NFL games and won a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots after earning the distinction in 1994.
The Chicago Bears selected two productive Mr. Irrelevants in back-to-back drafts. Running back Jim Finn was taken by Chicago with the last pick in 1999 and played 106 career NFL games with the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants. In 2000, the Bears selected Michael Green, a defensive back out of Northwestern State who played 104 games across eight NFL seasons in Chicago, Seattle and Washington.
Ryan Succop went to the Kansas City Chiefs with the 256th pick in 2009 and is still playing. He earned a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020 and is seventh among active players in scoring.
Who was Mr. Irrelevant in 2022?
Perhaps the most notable Mr. Irrelevant of all time, Brock Purdy nearly got to the Super Bowl in his rookie season.
The San Francisco 49ers selected the Iowa State quarterback with the 262nd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and it wasn’t long before he started playing – and winning.
Purdy replaced an injured Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13 and finished off a win against the Miami Dolphins before going 5-0 as a starter to close out the regular season. He then won two playoff games as a starter before suffering an elbow injury in an NFC Championship Game loss against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Who owns the last pick in the 2023 NFL Draft?
This year, the Houston Texans own the last pick in the draft and have the chance to select Mr. Irrelevant.
The Texans have selected Mr. Irrelevant three times before, taking defensive tackle Ahmad Miller in 2002, defensive end Cheta Ozougwu in 2011 and safety Lonnie Ballentine in 2014.