Mr. Irrelevant is the title bestowed each year upon the last pick of the annual National Football League draft. Although the NFL Draft dates back to 1936, the first person to officially be given the "Mr. Irrelevant" title was Kelvin Kirk, pick number 487 of the 1976 draft. The current Mr. Irrelevant is Trey Quinn, former wide receiver for the SMU Mustangs football team, who was picked 256th by the Washington Redskins in the 2018 draft.
"Mr. Irrelevant" and "Irrelevant Week" arose in 1976, when former Southern California and NFL receiver Paul Salata founded the event in Newport Beach, California. He continued to announce the final pick of the NFL draft until 2013; from 2014 his daughter took over in announcing the pick. During the summer after the draft, the new Mr. Irrelevant and his family are invited to spend a week in Newport Beach where they enjoy a golf tournament, a regatta, a roast giving advice to the new draftee, and a ceremony awarding him the Lowsman Trophy. The trophy mimics the Heisman, but depicts a player fumbling a football.
"Irrelevant Week" gave so much publicity to "Mr. Irrelevant" that in 1979 the Los Angeles Rams, with the penultimate pick, intentionally passed to let the Pittsburgh Steelers, with the last pick, choose first. The Steelers also wanted the publicity and passed as well. The two teams continued to refuse to choose a player until NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle forced the teams to pick. The incident led to the "Salata Rule", which prohibits teams from passing to get the final pick.
Since the NFL draft was cut to its current seven-round format in 1994, players presented with this dubious honor have more often succeeded in making the team that drafted them, with some making significant contributions on the field.
- Special teams player Marty Moore became the first Mr. Irrelevant to play in a Super Bowl, with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.
- Mike Green played a significant role in the Chicago Bears secondary in the 2000s, and played from 2000 to 2008.
- Jim Finn was on the roster as a fullback for the New York Giants on their victory in Super Bowl XLII. Prior to the 2007 season, Finn was placed on injured reserve, and never played a game for the Giants on their road to the Super Bowl that year, having been replaced by Madison Hedgecock. Prior to 2007, he had been the Giants fullback for four seasons.
- 2008 winner David Vobora was a starting linebacker for the St. Louis Rams during the 2009 season.
- 2009 winner Ryan Succop became the starting kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs. He went on to tie the NFL record for highest field goal percentage by a rookie in a season with 86.2%, and also passed NFL Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud for most field goals made by a rookie in Chiefs history. Succop was awarded the Mack Lee Hill Award that year. He has been a starting kicker since his rookie season making 81.5% of his field goals and a perfect 100% on extra points. Succop moved on to the Tennessee Titans for the 2014 season and was signed to a contract extension in early 2018.
- 2017 winner Ole Miss Quarterback Chad Kelly is the nephew of former Buffalo Bills quarterback, and Hall of Famer Jim Kelly. Drafted last largely because injury and discipline questions had lowered his previously high draft stock, Kelly progressed to become the Denver Broncos' second-string quarterback by the 2018 preseason.
One "Mr. Irrelevant" (who actually predated the award by nearly a decade) went on to a productive professional career in another sport. Jimmy Walker was the final pick in 1967 despite never having played college football. His main sport, however, was basketball, in which he was a consensus All-American and the nation's leading scorer as a senior at Providence College. Walker was the first pick in the 1967 NBA Draft, and opted for a career in the NBA.
Pre-Mr. Irrelevant selections
|1936||9||9||81||Phil Flanagan||Giants||G||Holy Cross|
|1942||22||5||200||Stu Clarkson||Bears||C||Texas A&I|
|1945||32||6||330||Billy Joe Aldridge||Packers||B||Oklahoma A&M|
|1947||32||7||300||Don Clayton||Giants||B||North Carolina|
|1948||32||7||300||Bill Fischer||Cardinals||G||Notre Dame|
|1949||25||10||251||John (Bull) Schweder||Eagles||G||Pennsylvania|
|1954||30||11||360||Ellis Horton||Lions||B||Eureka (IL)|
|1956||30||11||360||Bob Bartholomew||Browns||T||Wake Forest|
|1957||30||11||360||Don Gest||Giants||E||Washington State|
|1959||30||12||360||Blair Weese||Colts||B||West Virginia Tech|
|1962||20||14||280||Mike Snodgrass||Packers||C||Western Michigan|
|1965||20||14||280||George Haffner||Colts||QB||McNeese State|
|1966||20||15||305||Tom Carr||Colts||T||Morgan State|
|1968||17||27||462||Jimmy Smith||Bengals||TE||Jackson State|
|1970||17||26||442||Rayford Jenkins||Chiefs||DB||Alcorn A&M|
|1971[a]||17||26||442||Charles Hill||Raiders||WR||Sam Houston State|
|1973||17||26||442||Charles Wade||Dolphins||WR||Tennessee State|
Mr. Irrelevant selections
- Although some contemporary sources list Don Nottingham, who had a seven-year career in the NFL, as the last pick of this draft, the Oakland Raiders passed when their time came to pick in the last round and wound up choosing last.
- Non-compensatory pick, pick traded from the Denver Broncos to the Tennessee Titans prior to selection.
- Compensatory selection originally given to the Denver Broncos; from 2017 onwards, compensatory selections may be traded.
- Compensatory pick, pick traded from the Los Angeles Rams through the Atlanta Falcons to the Washington Redskins prior to the selection.
- "Irrelevant Week is pretty, well, relevant". Retrieved April 29, 2017.
- Merron, Jeff (April 18, 2005). "The strangest NFL draft moments". ESPN. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- "'Mr. Irrelevant' Marty Moore a Major Success Story for Patriots". March 10, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
- "NFL Draft 2013: Top 5 most relevant Mr. Irrelevant selections of all time". Retrieved April 29, 2017.
- "20 NFL draft Mr. Irrelevants who worked their way to (some sort of) relevance". April 29, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 13, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
- Wesseling, Chris (May 1, 2018). "John Elway: Broncos not giving up on Paxton Lynch". nfl.com. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- May, Peter (July 3, 2007). "Providence hoops legend Jimmy Walker dies at 63". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 8, 2007.