NASHVILLE, TN (Gray News) - Being the last player selected in the NFL Draft may seem as bad as being the last kid picked on the playground, especially with a title like "Mr. Irrelevant.”
But the distinction comes with quite a bit of fun.
Sure, the die hard fans who stick around for the last pick will probably boo and chant "overrated." And the network analysts, exhausted from three days of coverage, will show how little film they watched on the final draftee as they struggle their way through the 30 seconds the producer set aside for them to speak about him.
Even so, later in the summer, “Mr. Irrelevant” will spend a week at Newport Beach, CA, and enjoy a golf tournament, a regatta, a roast and a ceremony where he receives the Lowsman Trophy, a spoof of the prestigious Heisman Trophy, that features a ballcarrier fumbling.
Paul Salata founded the Irrelevant Week celebration in 1976. He was present for the final pick every year until his old age passed that honor to a family member.
The publicity that comes with Irrelevant Week caused some teams to covet the final pick. In 1979, the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers had the final two picks of the draft. Each of them wanted to pick last, so the Rams passed on their pick to make the Steelers pick before them, but Pittsburgh did the same thing to LA.
Former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle put an end to it and created the Salata Rule, prohibiting teams from passing to get the last pick.
The Washington Redskins had the final pick in the 2018 draft. They made Trey Quinn the 40th “Mr. Irrelevant.” He spent most of the season on injured reserve.
Quinn passed the title to UCLA’s tight end Caleb Wilson, whom the Arizona Cardinals drafted with pick No. 254. He was the Bruins’ lone draft selection.
Naturally, the later you go in the draft, the smaller your chances are of making the team. A lot of players would prefer to go undrafted so they can choose a team to sign with.
But the final pick isn't immune to success stories.
In recent memory, Ryan Succop has been one of the most successful players to ever be taken last. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009.
Ten seasons later, he’s still in the league, now as a kicker for the Tennessee Titans, and is considered one of the more solid kickers in the game. (Of course, kickers are rarely drafted.)
Other success stories include Ramzee Robinson, Marty Moore, Michael Green, Matt Elliot, Jim Finn, David Vobora and Norman Jefferson.
Quinn spent most of the season on injured reserve.