The 2016 NFL Draft continues tonight in Chicago. And this weekend, it will conclude with the final pick, a selection that has come to be known as “Mr. Irrelevant.” (Never mind the fact that thousands of college football players would kill to be branded with such a label.)
To get an idea what’s in store for that fellow, we caught up with 2009 Mr. Irrelevant Ryan Succop, a kicker from the University of South Carolina who was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs and now splits the uprights (most of the time) for the Tennessee Titans. See what Succop had to say back in the day about his dubious distinction and the strange NFL tradition that goes along with it.
“To me it was just an honor to be drafted. So I didn’t necessarily care that I was the last one.”
As part of being named Mr. Irrelevant, you were invited to spend a week in Newport Beach, California, for a party in your honor. What was that like?
Well, that’s a pretty neat deal. You get to go out to Newport Beach, which is just gorgeous. And, you know, they’re going to kind of roast you and toast you a little bit. They’re going to poke some fun at you. But the whole week really is a lot of fun. You get to do all kinds of stuff that you normally wouldn’t get to do. And you get to go out there with your family and friends and just kind of enjoy a great week. It’s a pretty neat experience.
You also went to Disneyland as part of it, right?
Yeah. It was kind of funny. You’re walking around Disneyland and there’s a bunch of cameras following you. And you’re pretty close to Hollywood, so naturally everybody thinks you’re some big celebrity walking around at Disneyland. Everybody’s kind of looking at you like you’re important, but it’s not really the case.
Did you get a trophy?
Yeah, the Lowsman Trophy [see above]. It’s a replica of the Heisman Trophy, except the guy is dropping the football. It’s pretty funny.
Where do you keep yours?
Mine’s back home in North Carolina. I don’t really display trophies, so it’s just kind of sitting in my room at home.
You mentioned that they find ways to poke fun at you. How?
Well, for one thing, they have a party for you right on the beach, and there are all these really nice boats around. Like yachts basically. And they had me come up in like a little canoe.
It seems kind of strange that people with a lot less athletic ability than you are laughing at you for getting selected in the NFL Draft, albeit with the last pick. Did that ever get annoying?
Well, not really. I think the way I looked at it was, it was an opportunity to pursue a dream of mine that I’ve had for most of my life. So I didn’t necessarily care where I got drafted. The other thing is there’s a ton of guys that don’t get drafted. To me it was just an honor to be drafted. So I didn’t necessarily care that I was the last one.
Any advice for this year’s Mr. Irrelevant?
My big advice would be, one, to enjoy the week when you’re out in California. You know, really enjoy it because it’s pretty special. And then after that, just look at it as an opportunity. Go out there and make the most of it. Make the team and have a great career.