Mr. Irrelevant list: Who will join Brock Purdy as last pick in NFL draft?

Mr. Irrelevant list: Who will join Brock Purdy as last pick in NFL draft?


“Mr. Irrelevant” has become a whole lot more relevant in recent years.

The nickname bestowed upon the final player selected in each NFL draft has grown in significance following the success of quarterback Brock Purdy, who led the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl 58 after being drafted out of Iowa State with the 262nd pick of the 2022 NFL draft. Despite being the last off the board, Purdy has claimed many firsts as “Mr. Irrelevant,” including the first to quarterback a Super Bowl team.

“I’m gonna be honest – I really don’t care,” Purdy said of the nickname in February. “If it’s gonna be ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ still, great, I love it. But if that’s the case, then I’m gonna continue to wear it with pride.”

Why is the last pick called “Mr. Irrelevant?” And who will join Purdy as “Mr. Irrelevant” in 2024 NFL draft?

BROCK PURDY: Why is 49ers QB called Mr. Irrelevant? Last-drafted player has a first in Super Bowl 58

The history behind Mr. Irrelevant

There has always been a last overall pick in the NFL draft, but there hasn’t always been a “Mr. Irrelevant.”

The nickname was first coined in 1976 by a former pro receiver Paul Salata, who played football collegiately (USC) and in the NFL (San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts) and CFL (Calgary Stampeders, Ottawa Rough Riders). With the approval of NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, Salata raised money to fly the last overall pick of the 1976 NFL draft (Kelvin Kirk of the Pittsburgh Steelers) out to Newport Beach, California, for “Irrelevant Week,” a weeklong celebration of the underdog that included a trip to Disneyland and a golf tournament. “Mr. Irrelevant” also received a Lowsman Trophy depicting a player fumbling the ball.

“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.”

The fanfare and publicity surrounding “Mr. Irrelevant” subsequently led to the creation of the “Salata Rule,” which prevents teams from deliberately passing to get the last pick after a Rams-Steelers kerfuffle in 1979.

Most notable Mr. Irrelevant draft picks

Only three players bearing the “Mr. Irrelevant” moniker have reached the pinnacle of the sport and made a Super Bowl appearance. Purdy was the last to do so in the 49ers’ 25-22 overtime loss to the Chiefs.

  • Marty Moore: The Kentucky linebacker was selected by the New England Patriots with the No. 222 pick of the 1994 draft. He played 112 games (19 starts) throughout his eight-year career, mostly with the Patriots. He became the first “Mr. Irrelevant” to appear in a Super Bowl (Super Bowl 31) and the first to win a Super Bowl after he did so alongside quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick (Super Bowl 36).
  • Ryan Succop: The University of South Carolina kicker was drafted with the 256th overall pick by the Chiefs and went on to enjoy a 14-year NFL career, where he made 320 out of 386 field goal attempts (83%) while playing for the Chiefs, Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He became the first “Mr. Irrelevant” to start a Super Bowl and the first starter to win a Super Bowl in the Buccaneers’ 31-9 victory over the Chiefs (Super Bowl 55).
  • Brock Purdy: The Iowa State quarterback was drafted by the 49ers with the 262nd pick of the 2022 NFL draft. He was elevated from the third-string quarterback to the 49ers’ starter in the 2022 season after Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo went down with season-ending injuries. Purdy led the 49ers to five consecutive wins and two playoff wins, marking the first “Mr. Irrelevant” quarterback to start in and win a playoff game. He returned as the starter during the 2023 season and led the 49ers to a 12-5 record and a Super Bowl 58 appearance, becoming the first “Mr. Irrelevant” under center at a Super Bowl.

Every Mr. Irrelevant pick in the NFL draft

Since 2013, every “Mr. Irrelevant” has appeared in at least one NFL game. The five players who were selected last during the past six drafts (in bold) were on NFL rosters this season. Only three “Mr. Irrelevant” players (highlighted) have appeared in a Super Bowl.

Here’s the final pick of every draft since 1966:

Contributing: Jim Sergent, USA TODAY

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