What is the story behind Mr. Irrelevant and how often have the Rams picked him?

Los Angeles Rams Desjuan Johnson
Los Angeles Rams Desjuan Johnson / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The LA Rams are about to participate in another NFL Draft, and once more the players selected during that three-day event can mean the difference between a losing season and winning the next Super Bowl. But what about the event itself? And does it matter when a player is chosen, or is that simply the false impressions bestowed to eager fans to sell the event?

We did a bit of a deep dive into the NFL Draft to uncover the success rates of selecting various positions in each draft round. While we did find enough difference to indicate that earlier picks did have a significant meaning of success for some position groups, other positions were a bit immune to when that position was selected.

But there is one draft selection that has earned a special place in the hearts of NFL fans, and has become a synonym for underdog or 'Cinderella story.' That is the title of Mr. Irrelevant. Despite the familiarity of the term among NFL fans, does everyone know what it means and its history?

History of Mr. Irrelevant

The term Mr. Irrelevant can be traced all the way back to the 1976 NFL Draft. In that draft, the term was coined by former NFL wide receiver Paul Salata. WR Kelvin Kirk was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 487th overall pick and was dubbed Mr. Irrelevant by Salata. And so, history was born.

After gaining instant popularity, the NFL knew that they were onto something. Since 1976, Paul Salata has announced Mr. Irrelevant to 2013. Since then, his daughter Melanie Salata-Fitch has taken over the honors.

The term Mr. Irrelevant is common. But did you know that the title also bestows the recipient to a week-long celebration? Melanie Salata-Fitch is the chief executive of Irrelevant Week, an annual event held in Newport Beach to honor the incoming Mr. Irrelevant. Irrelevant Week itinerary includes a week's worth of charitable events culminating in the Lowsman Banquet, an event that prompts the community to attend, roast, and toast the newest member of the NFL's very exclusive club.

With the exception of the first-overall pick, no other player selected in the NFL draft receives this much fanfare and lifelong support. And the players who belong to this group have WR Paul Salata to thank for it all.

Do players who earn the Mr. Irrelevant title has long NFL careers?

Since 1976, only five players who have been dubbed Mr. Irrelevants have played more than 50 career NFL games. They are:

  • Center Matt Elliott - Mr. Irrelevant from the 1992 NFL Draft (336th overall), played 63 games over four NFL seasons for the Washington football team and the Carolina Panthers
  • Middle linebacker Marty Moore - Mr. Irrelevant from the 1994 NFL Draft (222nd overall) played 112 games over eight seasons for the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns. He earned a Super Bowl ring in 1996.
  • Running back Jim Finn - Mr. Irrelevant from the 1999 NFL Draft (253rd overall) played in 106 games over seven seasons for the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Giants.
  • Defensive back Michael Green - Mr. Irrelevant from the 2000 NFL Draft (254th overall) played in 104 games over eight seasons for the Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks, and the Washington football team.
  • Kicker Ryan Succop -Mr. Irrelevant from the 2009 NFL Draft (256th overall) played in 216 games over 14 seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

As you can see above, hearing your name called out as the last player selected in the NFL Draft is still a steep climb for players to enjoy long NFL careers.

For the complete list of Mr. Irrelevants, you can check out the ESPN article that details the complete list of players selected with the last official pick of the NFL Draft.

How many Mr. Irrelevants were chosen by the Rams?

The LA Rams chose their third Mr. Irrelevant in the 2023 NFL Draft:

  • 2023 LA Rams DE Desjuan Johnson (259th overall)
  • 2008 St. Louis Rams OLB David Vobora (252nd overall)
  • 1988 LA Rams WR Jeff Beathhard (333rd overall)

Who are the current active NFL Mr. Irrelevants?

  • 2023 LA Rams DE Desjuan Johnson - While limited in his opportunities, Johnson is returning for a 2024 NFL season that will likely see him earn a larger role. In the absence of both DT Aaron Donald (retired) and DE Jonah Williams (FA), Johnson will be counted on to absorb the 1500 vacated snaps on the defensive front.
  • 2022 San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy - To say that the 49ers are fortunate to find an NFL starting quarterback with the 262nd pick of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Iowa State is a complete understatement. Purdy has already played in 25 regular season games in his first two seasons, as well as boasting a 4-2 record in postseason competition.
  • 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Grant Stuard - After playing one season for the Buccaneers, Stuard has played two seasons for the Indianapolis Colts. He is primarily a special teams player, but he has played the occasion game or two with defensive snaps as well.

Which team currently owns the last pick of the 2024 NFL Draft?

The New York Jets currently hold the final two picks of the 2024 NFL Draft in Round 7, the 256th and 257th overall picks. The LA Rams last pick of the 2024 NFL Draft is pick 254.

I hope you find this as informative as I have. As always, thank you for read