Ranking top five Mr. Irrelevant players in NFL history as 49ers’ Brock Purdy set to start vs. Tom Brady, Bucs – CBSSports.com

When the 49ers play host to the Buccaneers this Sunday, they’ll also kick off one of the most intriguing quarterback battles of Week 14. On one side: 45-year-old Tom Brady, the most accomplished signal-caller in NFL history, fresh off a historic prime-time comeback win over the Saints. On the other: 22-year-old Brock Purdy, who just replaced Jimmy Garoppolo (who was, in turn, replacing Trey Lance) and will be making his first career start as a rookie.

Purdy’s presence in the lineup is even more notable because of where he was drafted this April: last. Literally. As the 262nd overall pick rounding out the seventh round, Purdy is this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, a title bestowed upon the final player off the board. First coined in 1976 but technically documented since the draft’s inception in 1936, the Mr. Irrelevant nickname has followed dozens of NFL hopefuls over the decades.

With a strong run as the 49ers QB, and maybe even a surprise playoff run, Purdy has a chance to quickly become one of the greatest Mr. Irrelevants to ever take the field. And get this: one of the best to ever do it will also be on the field for the 49ers game Sunday, playing for the Buccaneers. Here’s a look at five of the most relevant Mr. Irrelevants in NFL history:

5. Marty Moore (1994)

Drafted: No. 222 overall | Team: Patriots | College: Kentucky

The first Mr. Irrelevant to win a Super Bowl, Moore spent eight seasons as a linebacker — seven with the Patriots, and one with the Browns. Though he only made 19 career starts, posting his best numbers (90 tackles, four pass deflections, one INT) in Cleveland, he carved out a role on special teams with the Pats, earning jobs under Bill Parcells, Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. Logging two picks in limited snaps during Carroll’s first year as head coach, he got a ring for the club’s 2001 championship upset of the “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams.

4. Jim Finn (1999)

Drafted: No. 253 overall | Team: Bears | College: Pennsylvania

Finn didn’t take a snap as a rookie, spending part of his first year on the Bears’ practice squad. After that, however, he clawed his way onto the Colts, who were fresh off a 13-3 breakout, and managed eight straight years as an active fullback. A dump-off option for Peyton Manning, sharing a backfield with Edgerrin James, he saw his best production alongside Peyton’s brother, Eli, with the Giants (2003-2007). In New York, Finn topped 100 receiving yards twice, helped block for All-Pro Tiki Barber, and got a ring when the G-Men upset the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

3. Bill Fischer (1948)

Drafted: No. 300 overall | Team: Cardinals | College: Notre Dame

An esteemed guard for College Football Hall of Fame coach Frank Leahy at Notre Dame, Fischer returned to school after the Cardinals drafted him following his junior year, then officially kicked off his NFL career a year later, when the Cardinals drafted him again — this time 10th overall. The big man started 48 games over five seasons, primarily at left tackle, becoming the first Mr. Irrelevant to earn a Pro Bowl nod (he finished with three). While also logging an occasional snap on defense, Fischer finished his brief but sterling career with an interception and a whopping 10 fumble recoveries.

2. Jacque MacKinnon (1961)

Drafted: No. 280 overall | Team: Eagles | College: Colgate

Like Fischer, he had an unusual way of finding Mr. Irrelevant stardom. Despite the Eagles taking him at the end of the 1961 draft, the fullback/tight end instead fled for the West Coast, signing with the AFL’s San Diego Chargers. He spent the next nine years starring under Hall of Fame coach Sid Gillman, deployed as both a runner and receiver in two-tight end sets. An athletic threat ahead of his time, MacKinnon totaled almost 2,500 yards from scrimmage for his career, notably logging 33 catches for 646 yards and six touchdowns at age 30, in 1968. The bruiser also spent a single season with the Raiders (1970), just as the AFL merged with the NFL, leaving the game having appeared in four different AFL championships, and winning one.

1. Ryan Succop (2009)

Drafted: No. 256 overall | Team: Chiefs | College: South Carolina

Of all the Mr. Irrelevants, none have made such a consistent impact over such a long period of time. One of only two kickers selected in 2009, Succop showed off his leg early, setting the Chiefs’ rookie record for field goals (25) and tying an NFL record for rookie field-goal percentage (86.2). After five years in Kansas City, he spent six with the Titans, three times eclipsing 100 points on the year. With the Buccaneers since 2020, he broke a franchise record for single-season points (136) as part of the club’s Super Bowl championship team. And at 36, he’s still got it, entering Week 14 currently 24 of 27 on field goals for Tampa Bay. In his 14th season, he ranks in the top 35 among all-time kickers in both points (1,400+) and field-goal percentage (83.5%), ahead of big-name Pro Bowlers like Mark Moseley, Neil Rackers and Billy Cundiff.

A look at every Mr. Irrelevant

Now that we’ve ranked the top five, here’s a look at the history of Mr. Irrelevants since the term was first coined in 1976. Purdy, out of Iowa State, was taken in 2022 with 262nd pick by the 49ers.

Year Pick Player Team Position School
2021 259 Grant Stuard Buccaneers LB Houston
2020 255 Tae Crowder Giants LB Georgia
2019 254 Caleb Wilson Cardinals TE UCLA
2018 256 Trey Quinn Commanders WR SMU
2017 253 Chad Kelly Broncos QB Ole Miss
2016 253 Kalan Reed Titans CB Southern Miss
2015 256 Gerald Christian Cardinals TE Louisville
2014 256 Lonnie Ballentine Texans S Memphis
2013 254 Justice Cunningham Colts TE South Carolina
2012 253 Chandler Harnish Colts QB NIU
2011 254 Cheta Ozougwu Texans DE Rice
2010 255 Tim Toone Lions WR Weber State
2009 256 Ryan Succop Chiefs K South Carolina
2008 252 David Vobora Rams OLB Idaho
2007 255 Ramzee Robinson Lions CB Alabama
2006 255 Kevin McMahan Raiders WR Maine
2005 255 Andy Stokes Patriots TE William Penn
2004 255 Andre Sommersell Raiders LB Colorado State
2003 262 Ryan Hoag Raiders WR Gustavus Adolphus
2002 261 Ahmad Miller Texans DT UNLV
2001 246 Tevita Ofahengaue Cardinals TE Brigham Young
2000 254 Michael Green Bears DB Northwestern State
1999 253 Jim Finn Bears RB Pennsylvania
1998 241 Cam Quayle Ravens TE Weber State
1997 240 Ronnie McAda Packers QB Army
1996 254 Sam Manuel 49ers LB New Mexico State
1995 249 Michael Reed Panthers DB Boston College
1994 222 Marty Moore Patriots LB Kentucky
1993 224 Daron Alcorn Buccaneers K Akron
1992 336 Matt Elliott Commanders C Michigan
1991 334 Larry Wanke Giants QB John Carroll
1990 331 Demetrius Davis Raiders TE Nevada
1989 335 Everett Ross Vikings WR Ohio State
1988 333 Jeff Beathard Rams WR Southern Oregon
1987 335 Norman Jefferson Packers DB LSU
1986 333 Mike Travis Chargers DB Georgia Tech
1985 336 Donald Chumley 49ers DT Georgia
1984 336 Randy Essington Raiders QB Colorado
1983 335 John Tuggle Giants RB California
1982 334 Tim Washington 49ers DB Fresno State
1981 332 Phil Nelson Raiders TE Delaware
1980 333 Tyrone McGriff Steelers G Florida A&M
1979 330 Mike Almond Steelers WR Northwestern State
1978 334 Lee Washburn Cowboys G Montana State
1977 335 Jim Kelleher Vikings RB Colorado
1976 487 Kelvin Kirk Steelers WR Dayton

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