The NFL Draft dates back to 1936, but in 1976 being the final selection became something of note, thanks to Paul Salata.
Salata decided to honor the player who was the final pick and dubbed him Mr. Irrelevant. Salata and some friends raised money to fly the player to Southern California, where he was feted at a banquet, taken to Disneyland and given the “Lowsman Trophy.”
“Everyone who is drafted works hard, and some of them don’t get any recognition,” Salata told The New York Times in 2017. “They do their work and should be noticed.”
Saturday night, Toledo defensive tackle Desjuan Johnson was selected by the Los Angeles Rams at pick No. 259 in the 2023 NFL Draft to become the 48th Mr. Irrelevant. Johnson was a five-year player for the Rockets, and he had his best season in 2022. He finished with 5.5 sacks, one interception and 26 total tackles.
Most of the time, Mr. Irrelevant spends little to no time in the NFL. Since 1976, only five Mr. Irrelevants have played more than 50 career NFL games.
Center Matt Elliott, Mr. Irrelevant in 1992, played 63 games for Washington and the Carolina Panthers. Marty Moore played 112 NFL games and won a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots after earning the distinction in 1994.
Running back Jim Finn was taken by the Chicago Bears with the last pick in 1999 and played 106 career NFL games with the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants. In 2000, the Bears selected Michael Green, a defensive back out of Northwestern State who played 104 games across eight NFL seasons in Chicago, Seattle and Washington.
Perhaps the most relevant Mr. Irrelevant was drafted in 2009. Ryan Succop went to the Kansas City Chiefs with the 256th pick that year. He later earned a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020. Succop, who was released by the Buccaneers in late March, has 1,430 points in his NFL career and has made nearly 83 percent of his field goal attempts.
Last season, Brock Purdy — the 262nd and final pick in the 2022 draft — led the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC Championship Game after Jimmy Garoppolo was injured. Purdy led the 49ers to victories in their final six regular-season games, then led them past the Seattle Seahawks in a wild-card game and the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Round game.