Most guys would kill to get drafted into the NFL. Figuratively speaking. Or in some cases literally speaking. (We’re looking at you, Drew Brees.) But if you get chosen last, you’re branded with a none-too-flattering label: Mr. Irrelevant. This year, the honor went to Cheta Ozougwu, a defensive end from Rice, chosen by the Houston Texans with the 254th pick. To see what regrettable fate awaits him, we decided to track down a recent Mr. I, 2009’s Ryan Succop, to see what dark place his life has descended to since his own humiliating day.
It didn’t work out.
Because, dammit, the guy’s actually doing pretty well. Drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, the U. of South Carolina kicker made the team, won the starting job and pushed aside Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud to set a franchise record for most made field goals by a rookie. He also tied an NFL record for highest field goal percentage by a first-year kicker, and last year he helped the Chiefs break the Bills’ hearts in OT (see video below) on the way to their first AFC West title since 2003. Oh, and he’s set to make nearly half a million dollars next season. Nothing irrelevant about that. For Part 2 of our draft package, we talked to him anyway.
UPDATE: Part 3 of our draft package, the science of the NFL Draft
MADE MAN: 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?
RYAN SUCCOP: 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.
MM: You also went to Disneyland as part of it, right?
RS: 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.
MM: Where do you keep yours?
RS: 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.
MM: You mentioned that they find ways to poke fun at you. How?
RS: 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.
MM: 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?
RS: 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.
MM: Any advice for this year’s Mr. Irrelevant?
RS: 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.