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NFL

What is Mr Irrelevant in the NFL draft?

As the NFL draft picks whittle away, the bottom end of the seventh round will produce one infamous award: Mr Irrelevant. We take a look at the tradition.

Jeffrey May
Update:
As the NFL draft picks whittle away, the bottom end of the seventh round will produce one infamous award: Mr Irrelevant. We take a look at the tradition.
Getty Images

With all eyes fixed firmly on the top picks in the first round of the NFL draft, there is a quiet award that nobody wants. Mr Irrelevant.

Mr. Irrelevant is the nickname given to the last pick of the draft. Begun as a bit of fun by former USC an NFL receiver Paul Salata, the award began in 1976 with that year’s pick number 487, Kelvin Kirk.

The award consists of the Lowsman Trophy, modelled on the Heisman Trophy but depicting a player fumbling a football, as well as Irrelevant Week. During the summer following the draft, Mr Irrelevant and his family are invited to Newport Beach, California to visit Disneyland and participate in a golf tournament and a sailing regatta.

Perhaps the most notable Mr Irrelevant has been Ryan Succop, Tampa Bay Buccaneers placekicker, who became the first Mr Irrelevant to play in a Super Bowl. 1999 winner, Jim Finn, was on the active roster of the NY Giants during their Super Bowl XLII win, but did not play due to a nagging injury.

Bill Fischer was the first Mr Irrelevant to make the Pro Bowl, having been the final pick in the 1948 draft. He elected, however, to stay in college and went in the first round the following year to the same team and made the Pro Bowl three times in five seasons.

With this limited track record of success by the final draft pick, it is often seen as preferable to go undrafted and enter the NFL via free agency. There is a long list of extremely successful undrafted free agents in the NFL, including Tony Romo, Warren Moon, Kurt Warner, and Adam Vinatieri.

Every player has a chance to make their own way in the NFL. High drafts are just as likely to bust as shine, and low or undrafted players can make a franchise and even wind up in the Hall of Fame. Your fate is what you make of it. Remember, the guy who finishes medical school at the bottom of the class is still called “doctor”.

So while you are watching out for the top picks, keep one eye on the bottom of the table too.

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