History of Mr. Irrelevant in the NFL Draft

Learn More About the Notable Irrelevants

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Alder, James. "History of Mr. Irrelevant in the NFL Draft." ThoughtCo, Aug. 22, 2017, thoughtco.com/nfl-draft-history-mr-irrelevant-1334470. Alder, James. (2017, August 22). History of Mr. Irrelevant in the NFL Draft. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/nfl-draft-history-mr-irrelevant-1334470 Alder, James. "History of Mr. Irrelevant in the NFL Draft." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/nfl-draft-history-mr-irrelevant-1334470 (accessed September 26, 2017).
American Football Helmet
Andrew Rich / Getty Images

Over the years, the last player selected in the annual NFL Draft has been historically dubbed, Mr. Irrelevant. The name evolved because the last pick in the draft was often considered irrelevant because the player failed many times to make the selecting team's roster. 

History of the Nickname

Although the NFL Draft started in 1936, the Mr. Irrelevant moniker did not start until 1976 when Kelvin Kirk was selected 487th in the NFL draft that year and bestowed the Mr. Irrelevant Award.

Former NFL receiver, Paul Salata, started the Mr. Irrelevant Award, which he called the "Lowsman Trophy," a spoof on the Heisman Trophy, college football's highest honor. The trophy depicts a player fumbling a football. During the summer after the draft, the new Mr. Irrelevant and his family are invited to spend an "Irrelevant Week" in Newport Beach, California, where they enjoy a golf tournament, a regatta, as well as a draftee roast and award ceremony.

Irrelevant Week with Salata in Newport Beach gained so much publicity that by 1979, during the NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers intentionally passed in the draft wanting to have the last pick. The NFL Commissioner forced the teams to pick and created a new rule, the "Salata Rule," which prohibits teams from passing to get the final pick.

Relevant Achievements

Although the odds are stacked against the Mr. Irrelevants, there were a handful of players with some noteworthy achievements.

Marty Moore from the 1994 Draft became the first Mr. Irrelevant to play in a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. Mr. Irrelevant 2000, Mike Green, played a significant role in the Chicago Bears secondary from 2000 to 2008. Giants fullback Jim Finn was Mr. Irrelevant in 1999. He played four seasons with the Giants and was instrumental in getting the Giants to Super Bowl XLII, which the Giants won.

 

2009 Mr. Irrelevant, Ryan Succop, a starting star kicker since his rookie season for the Kansas City Chiefs and then the Tennessee Titans, has tied the NFL record for the highest field goal percentage by a rookie in a season with 86.2 percent and also passed NFL Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud for the most field goals made by a rookie in Chiefs history. He scored 104 points in his rookie year, the most of any other rookie. Succop was also named to the NFL's All-Rookie team his first year. In 2014, he was signed to the Tennessee Titans. In 2016, Succop earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after achieving the game-winning 53-yard field goal in the final seconds of a Week 15 game against his former team, the Chiefs. 

Although he never played college football, Jimmy Walker was the final NFL pick of 1967 by the New Orleans Saints. Although dead last in the NFL draft, he was the first pick in the 1967 NBA draft and opted for a career in the NBA. Walker is the only athlete in pro ball history to be drafted first by one professional league and last by another. He predated the Mr. Irrelevant nickname and award ceremony. He went on to have a nine-year professional career with the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, and Kansas City Kings.

Mr. Irrelevant Winners

YearPlayerNFL TeamPlayer, Position/College
2016253rdTennessee TitansKalan Reed, CB/Southern Mississippi
2015256thArizona CardinalsGerald Christian, TE/Louisville
2014256thHouston TexansLonnie Ballentine, S/Memphis
2013254thIndianapolis ColtsJustice Cunningham, TE/South Carolina
2012253rdIndianapolis ColtsChandler Harnish, QB/NIU
2011254thHouston TexansCheta Ozougwu, DE/Rice University
2010255thDetroit LionsTim Toone, WR/Weber State
2009256thKansas City ChiefsRyan Succop, K/South Carolina
2008252ndSt. Louis RamsDavid Vobora, LB/Idaho
2007255thDetroit LionsRamzee Robinson, CB/Alabama
2006255thOakland RaidersKevin McMahan, WR/Maine
2005255thNew England PatriotsAndy Stokes, TE/William & Penn
2004255thOakland RaidersAndre Sommersell, OLB/Colorado State
2003262ndOakland RaidersRyan Hoag, WR/Gustavus Adolphus
2002261stHouston TexansAhmad Miller, DT/UNLV
2001246thArizona CardinalsTevita Ofahengaue, TE/Brigham Young
2000254thChicago BearsMichael Green, DB/NW Louisiana
1999253rdChicago BearsJames Finn, RB/Pennsylvania
1998241stBaltimore RavensCam Quayle, TE/Weber State
1997240thGreen Bay PackersRonnie McAda, QB/Army
1996254thSan Francisco 49ersSam Manuel, LB/New Mexico State
1995249thCaroline PanthersMichael Reed, DB/Boston College
1994222ndNew England PatriotsMarty Moore, LB/Kentucky
1993224thTampa Bay BuccaneersDaron Alcorn, K/Akron
1992336thWashington RedskinsMatt Elliott, C/Michigan
1991334thNew York GiantsLarry Wanke, QB/John Carroll

 

YearPlayerNFL TeamPlayer, Position/College
1990331stLos Angeles RaidersDemetrius Davis, TE/Nevada
1989335thMinnesota VikingsEverett Ross, WR/Ohio State
1988333rdLos Angeles RamsJeff Bethard, WR/Southern Oregon State
1987335thGreen Bay PackersNorman Jefferson, DB/Louisiana State
1986333rdSan Diego ChargersMike Travis, DB/Georgia Tech
1985336thSan Francisco 49ersDonald Chumley, DT/Georgia
1984336thLos Angeles RaidersRandy Essington, QB/Colorado
1983335thNew York GiantsJohn Tuggle, RB/California
1982334thSan Francisco 49ersTim Washington, DB/Fresno State
1981332ndOakland RaidersPhil Nelson, TE/Delaware
1980333rdPittsburgh SteelersTyrone McGriff, G/Florida A&M
1979330thPittsburgh SteelersMike Almond, WR/NW Louisiana
1978334thDallas CowboysLee Washburn, G/Montana State
1977335thOakland RaidersRolf Benirshke, K/California-Davis
1976487thPittsburgh SteelersKelvin Kirk, WR/Dayton
1975442ndPittsburgh SteelersStan Hegener, G/Nebraska
1974442ndMiami DolphinsKen Dickerson, DB/Tuskegee
1973442ndMiami DolphinsCharles Wade, WR/Tennessee State
1972442ndDallas CowboysAlphonson Cain, DT/Bethune-Cookman
1971442ndOakland RaidersCharles Hill, WR/Sam Houston State
1970442ndKansas City ChiefsRayford Jenkins, DB/Alcorn A&M
1969442ndNew York JetsFred Zirkie, DT/Duke
1968462ndCincinnati BengalsJimmy Smith, TE/Jackson State
1967445thNew Orleans SaintsJimmy Walker, WR/Providence
1966305thBaltimore ColtsTomm Carr, T/Morgan State
1965280thBaltimore ColtsGeorge Haffner, QB/McNeese State
1964280thChicago BearsDick Niglio, RB/Yale
1963280thGreen Bay PackersBobby Brezina, B/Houston
1962280thGreen Bay PackersMike Snodgrass, C/Western Michigan
1961280thPhiladelphia EaglesJacque MacKinnon, B/Colgate

 

YearPlayerNFL TeamPlayer, Position/College
1960240thNew York GiantsBill Gorman, T/McMurry
1959360thBaltimore ColtsBlair Weese, B/West Virginia Tech
1958360thDetroit LionsTommy Bronson, B/Tennessee
1957360thNew York GiantsDon Gest, E/Washington State
1956360thCleveland BrownsBob Bartholomew, T/Wake Forest
1955360thCleveland BrownsLamar Leachman, C/Tennessee
1954360thDetroit LionsEllis Horton, B/Eureka (IL)
1953360thDetroit LionsHal Maus, E/Montana
1952360thCleveland BrownsJohn Saban, B/Xavier
1951362ndCleveland BrownsSisto Averno, G/Muhlenberg
1950391stPhiladelphia EaglesDud Parker, B/Baylor
1949251stPhiladelphia EaglesJohn (Bull) Schweder, G/Pennsylvania
1948300thChicago CardinalsBill Fischer, G/Notre Dame
1947300thNew York GiantsDon Clayton, B/North Carolina
1946300thLos Angeles RamsJohn West, B/Oklahoma
1945330thGreen Bay PackersBilly Joe Aldridge, B/Oklahoma State
1944330thBoston YanksWalton Roberts, B/Texas
1943300thWashington RedskinsBo Bogovich, G/Delaware
1942200thChicago BearsStu Clarkson, C Texas A&I
1941204thPittsburgh SteelersMort Landsbert, B/Cornell
1940200thNew York GiantsMyron Claxton, T/Whittier
1939200thNew York GiantsJack Rhodes, G/Texas
1938110thChicago BearsFerd Dreher, E/Denver
1937100thCleveland RamsSolon Holt, G/Texas Christian
193681stNew York GiantsPhil Flanagan, G/Holy Cross

 

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Alder, James. "History of Mr. Irrelevant in the NFL Draft." ThoughtCo, Aug. 22, 2017, thoughtco.com/nfl-draft-history-mr-irrelevant-1334470. Alder, James. (2017, August 22). History of Mr. Irrelevant in the NFL Draft. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/nfl-draft-history-mr-irrelevant-1334470 Alder, James. "History of Mr. Irrelevant in the NFL Draft." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/nfl-draft-history-mr-irrelevant-1334470 (accessed September 26, 2017).