Mr. Irrelevant is a title that is discussed every April around the annual NFL Draft because it is the dubious title given to the last player taken in the draft. The title of Mr. Irrelevant is given half jokingly due to the lack of faith that exists regarding the final player drafted worth mentioning again because his chances of succeeding in the NFL are seemingly so slim.
For several years now, the NFL Draft has had seven rounds with 32 teams. Although seven rounds with 32 teams gives a total of 224 picks, the actual number of total picks is usually around 255. The reason there are additional picks beyond the one allotted per round per team over seven rounds is due to something called “compensatory”. picks.” While a full explanation of compensatory picks is beyond the scope of this article, the gist of it is that there are additional picks designated for teams that lost more players to free agency than they gained. Therefore, picks Compensatory picks help short-player teams amass a more complete roster.It’s not unusual for Mr. Irrelevant to be selected with the 255th overall pick at the end of a writing process that literally lasts days.
Although the NFL Draft began in 1936, it was not until forty years later in 1976 that the endearing phrase Mr. Irrelevant became popular. The concept was actually the brainchild of a former NFL wide receiver and University of Southern California standout named Paul Salata. At the age of 49, long after his playing days were behind him, Salata founded what would become known as Irrelevant Week near his home in Newport Beach, California.
Mr. Irrelevant Week takes place in Orange County, California during the summer and, among other events, includes a parade, golf tournament, and barbecue for the player who is lucky enough to be selected with the final selection in the NFL Draft held the previous spring. The week-long extravaganza concludes with the presentation of the Lowsman Trophy. The Lowsman Trophy mimics the Heisman Trophy (the most coveted individual award in college football), but instead of depicting a player jabbing a stiff arm, a football player fumbling for the ball adorns this piece of hardware.
Although it can be argued that the first Mr. Gone was Phil Flanagan because he was taken with the last pick in the first NFL Draft in 1936, Kelvin Kirk is more widely recognized as the first official Mr. Gone. Kirk was selected with the 487th and final pick in the 1976 NFL Draft and thus received an invitation for himself and his family to participate in the Newport Beach festivities that summer.
One of the most interesting career paths for a man selected with the last overall pick in the NFL Draft is probably Jimmy Walker, who was taken by the New Orleans Saints with the final 17th round pick (445 overall) in the 1967 draft. That same year, Walker was taken with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. Walker would go on to play nine years in the NBA and make a couple of all-star teams before finally fathering a son named Jalen Rose. Rose would play in the NBA and, famously, with the Michigan Fab Squad in 1992 and 1993. Unfortunately, an estranged relationship meant that Walker and Rose never met in person before Walker passed away in 2007.
On a lighter note, casual sports fans may find it interesting that numerous players who have been named Mr. Irrelevant played for top-tier college football programs like the University of Nebraska, LSU, Ohio State, and the University of Texas. , just to name a few.