The curious case of the NFL's Mr. Irrelevant

The NFL Draft gives attention to the last player picked each year

The curious case of the NFL's Mr. Irrelevant

Picture by: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/PA Images

The NFL Draft began to much fanfare on Thursday night in Philadelphia.

Over seven rounds, every NFL team will take turns to pick the best of what college football has to offer. On Saturday evening, the 253rd and final player will be picked. He will be 2017's Mr. Irrelevant.

The unusual moniker is cruelly given each year to the last player picked in the Draft, as if they were a bygone thought for teams. Last year, the Tennessee Titans picked Kalen Reed. The unlucky title is something that has not seemed to bother the 23-year-old corner-back.

Although the NFL Draft has been in existence since 1936, the Mr. Irrelevant title was only created in 1976. Kelvin Kirk was given the title. He never played in the NFL, but enjoyed a fruitful career playing professional football in Canada.

Each year, the "winner" is invited to spend a week in Newport Beach, California to celebrate "Irrelevant Week". The event takes place each June, with the player getting an all-expenses paid trip to the American west coast.

"We established Irrelevant Week to drive home an important message – that it’s not a negative to be picked last in the NFL Draft; rather, it’s an honour to be drafted at all,” event creator Paul Salata said last year. "The last draft pick’s demonstration of perseverance is lesson that resonates not only with NFL players and fans, but also with people everywhere."

While the lowly standing in the NFL Draft may not suggest a successful career, there have been some exceptions. In 1997, Marty Moore (1994 Mr. Irrelevant) became the first player to play in a Super Bowl. Ten years later, Jim Finn (1999 Mr. Irrelevant) was part of the New York Giants team that won the Super Bowl.

While the stars of the NFL may be found in the opening rounds, there is still place for the lesser-known players. Come Saturday night, an unknown player will see their name in lights, whether they want it, or not.