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 Chad Kelly, former quarterback for the Ole Miss Rebels football team, who was picked 253rd by the Denver Broncos in the 2017 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, California, 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 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 a fullback for the New York Giants on their victory in Super Bowl XLII. Prior to the 2007 season, Finn was placed on the Injured Reserve, and never played a game for the Giants on their road to the Super Bowl, having been replaced by Madison Hedgecock.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 the 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.
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.
The 2017 "Mr. Irrelevant" was Chad Kelly, a quarterback from three different colleges, most recently the University of Mississippi. His uncle is Jim Kelly, who was a quarterback himself for the Houston Gamblers of the USFL and the Buffalo Bills of the NFL. Jim Kelly led the Bills to four straight Super Bowls (1990-1993) and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Mr. Irrelevant selections
|1976||17||28||487||Kirk, KelvinKelvin Kirk||Steelers||WR||Dayton|
|1977||12||27||335||Kelleher, JimJim Kelleher||Vikings||RB||Colorado|
|1978||12||28||334||Washburn, LeeLee Washburn||Cowboys||G||Montana State|
|1979||12||27||330||Almond, MikeMike Almond||Steelers||WR||Northwestern State|
|1980||12||28||333||McGriff, TyroneTyrone McGriff||Steelers||G||Florida A&M|
|1981||12||28||332||Nelson, PhilPhil Nelson||Raiders||TE||Delaware|
|1982||12||28||334||Washington, TimTim Washington||49ers||DB||Fresno State|
|1983||12||28||335||Tuggle, JohnJohn Tuggle||Giants||RB||California|
|1984||12||28||336||Essington, RandyRandy Essington||Raiders||QB||Colorado|
|1985||12||28||336||Chumley, DonaldDonald Chumley||49ers||DT||Georgia|
|1986||12||28||333||Travis, MikeMike Travis||Chargers||DB||Georgia Tech|
|1987||12||28||335||Jefferson, NormanNorman Jefferson||Packers||DB||LSU|
|1988||12||28||333||Beathard, JeffJeff Beathard||Rams||WR||Southern Oregon|
|1989||12||28||335||Ross, EverettEverett Ross||Vikings||WR||Ohio State|
|1990||12||27||331||Davis, DemetriusDemetrius Davis||Raiders||TE||Nevada|
|1991||12||28||334||Wanke, LarryLarry Wanke||Giants||QB||John Carroll|
|1992||12||28||336||Elliott, MattMatt Elliott||Redskins||C||Michigan|
|1993||8||28||224||Alcorn, DaronDaron Alcorn||Buccaneers||K||Akron|
|1994||7||28||222||Moore, MartyMarty Moore||Patriots||LB||Kentucky|
|1995||7||41||249||Reed, MichaelMichael Reed||Panthers||DB||Boston College|
|1996||7||45||254||Manuel, SamSam Manuel||49ers||LB||New Mexico State|
|1997||7||39||240||McAda, RonnieRonnie McAda||Packers||QB||Army|
|1998||7||52||241||Quayle, CamCam Quayle||Ravens||TE||Weber State|
|1999||7||47||253||Finn, JimJim Finn||Bears||RB||Pennsylvania|
|2000||7||48||254||Green, MichaelMichael Green||Bears||DB||Northwestern State|
|2001||7||46||246||Ofahengaue, TevitaTevita Ofahengaue||Cardinals||TE||Brigham Young|
|2002||7||50||261||Miller, AhmadAhmad Miller||Texans||DT||UNLV|
|2003||7||48||262||Hoag, RyanRyan Hoag||Raiders||WR||Gustavus Adolphus|
|2004||7||54||255||Sommersell, AndreAndre Sommersell||Raiders||LB||Colorado State|
|2005||7||41||255||Stokes, AndyAndy Stokes||Patriots||TE||William Penn|
|2006||7||47||255||McMahan, KevinKevin McMahan||Raiders||WR||Maine|
|2007||7||45||255||Robinson, RamzeeRamzee Robinson||Lions||CB||Alabama|
|2008||7||45||252||Vobora, DavidDavid Vobora||Rams||OLB||Idaho|
|2009||7||47||256||Succop, RyanRyan Succop||Chiefs||K||South Carolina|
|2010||7||48||255||Toone, TimTim Toone||Lions||WR||Weber State|
|2011||7||53||254||Ozougwu, ChetaCheta Ozougwu||Texans||DE||Rice|
|2012||7||46||253||Harnish, ChandlerChandler Harnish||Colts||QB||NIU|
|2013||7||48||254||Cunningham, JusticeJustice Cunningham||Colts||TE||South Carolina|
|2014||7||41||256||Ballentine, LonnieLonnie Ballentine||Texans||S||Memphis|
|2015||7||39||256||Christian, GeraldGerald Christian||Cardinals||TE||Louisville|
|2016||7||32||253||Reed, KalanKalan Reed||Titans[a]||CB||Southern Miss|
|2017||7||35||253||Kelly, ChadChad Kelly||Broncos[b]||QB||Mississippi|
- 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.
- "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.
- May, Peter (July 3, 2007). "Providence hoops legend Jimmy Walker dies at 63". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 8, 2007.