NFL Draft: 'Mr. Irrelevant' is Toledo DE Desjuan Johnson, selected by the Rams
Brock Purdy did more for "Mr. Irrelevant" than any other final NFL Draft pick who came before him.
Purdy became a sensation for the San Francisco 49ers last season after being forced into the lineup due to injuries. He helped lead the 49ers to the NFC championship game and might have become the first rookie quarterback to start in a Super Bowl had he not injured his elbow against the Philadelphia Eagles. His success might have even influenced this year's draft, with a record number of quarterbacks being selected in the first five rounds.
It all started with the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. The 49ers took Purdy with the last pick. The last pick has been dubbed "Mr. Irrelevant" for decades, and Purdy has embraced it.
This year's "Mr. Irrelevant" was Toledo defensive end Desjuan Johnson, selected by the Los Angeles Rams with the 259th and final pick of the draft.
Rams acquired final pick in a trade
The Rams got the final pick of the draft with a trade. They traded the 167th pick to the Houston Texans for Nos. 174 and 259.
Johnson is a 6-foot-3, 275-pound end who played five college seasons. Last season, he had 5.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. Johnson's production improved every season at Toledo.
Johnson is part of a crowded rookie class with the Rams. The Rams made 14 picks in the draft. Johnson was the fifth pick who can play on the defensive line.
It won't be easy for Johnson to make the roster. But he has a chance after barely sneaking into the draft.
Mr. Irrelevant history
Purdy was a high-profile "Mr. Irrelevant." He had a good career at Iowa State. He then became the first "Mr. Irrelevant" to attempt an NFL pass, and went far beyond that his rookie season.
Being "Mr. Irrelevant" has some perks. Each year, there's a week-long celebration in Newport Beach, California, for "Mr. Irrelevant." There's a "Lowsman Banquet," a Disneyland trip and sometimes surfing lessons among other events.
There has been a good run of success for the players taken last in the draft. Linebacker Grant Stuard, "Mr. Irrelevant" in 2021, has appeared in 32 games the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. The 2019 "Mr. Irrelevant," linebacker Tae Crowder, has started 31 games for the New York Giants. The most successful "Mr. Irrelevant" before Purdy was probably kicker Ryan Succop, who has been in the NFL 14 seasons and hit 81.6% of his field goal attempts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season.
Maybe Purdy hasn't already passed Succop for the top "Mr. Irrelevant." But last season he brought plenty of attention to the last pick of the draft. Johnson will hope to keep the momentum going.