You’re hardly irrelevant if you get drafted into the NFL. Even if you don’t make it out of training camp as a rookie, you still had your 15 minutes of fame on national television. And if you’re the very last pick in the NFL Draft, you might even get a little extra time in the spotlight as Mr. Irrelevant.
“Mr. Irrelevant” is the nickname lovingly attached to the final pick in the NFL Draft. The tradition began in 1976 when former NFL wide receiver Paul Salata came up with the title and created “Irrelevant Week,” a holiday for the final pick after the draft that includes a trip to Disneyland, a golf tournament and more fun in Newport Beach, California. Salata was the one to announce the pick every year until 2014, when his daughter took over.
There’s an entire website for Mr. Irrelevant and Irrelevant Week. The culmination of the last pick celebration is the presentation of the Lowsman Trophy at a special banquet for the player. The Lowsman Trophy is a play on college football’s Heisman Trophy.
Over time, a handful of Mr. Irrelevants have had successful NFL careers, including Pro Bowlers and Super Bowl winners. Among the more well-know recent Irrelevants is kicker Ryan Succop, drafted in 2009, he was with the Buccaneers from 2020 through last season, but he’s currently a free agent.
Of course, last year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, has the chance to become the most famous of all. The first Mr. Irrelevant to throw a touchdown pass in a game, the San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback beat Tom Brady and led his team into the playoffs, before suffering an elbow injury. Though he’ll be rehabbing that injury for most of the offseason, Purdy is expected to compete for the starting job for the 49ers this season.
With the 2023 NFL Draft upon us, here are the five most recent “Mr. Irrelevant” players:
2022: Brock Purdy, QB, 49ers
2021: Grant Stuard, LB, Buccaneers
2020: Tae Crowder, LB, Giants
2019: Caleb Wilson, TE, Cardinals
2018: Trey Quinn, WR, Washington