Who Will We Never Know this Year? Mr. Irrelevant 2010

There is something special about getting drafted in the NFL. It’s like validation for the hours upon hours you put in working out, watching film, and just kicking the crap out of your opponents on the football field. Anyone can get invited to camp as an undrafted free agent; but not everyone can get drafted.The St. Louis Rams will likely pick Sam Bradford with the first pick of the draft on April 22; the fact that the Rams cut Marc Bulger all but guarantees it. With the distinction of getting picked first will come a pretty hefty contract, one that will pay him pretty well even if he sucks (aka The Ryan Leaf Experience).

The last guy in the draft will likely get league minimum– $325,000 – which will be prorated for as long as he is on the roster. Sam Bradford will get the money, the playing time, the glory, the babes, and the adulation of thousands of fans (after all, he is playing for the Rams). The last pick in the draft will get a nickname- Mr. Irrelevant (for $325,000 you can call me whatever you want).

Vaughn to make tackles in Detroit?

Most Mr. Irrelevants enjoy the week of vacation in Newport as well as the limited attention they get when the Lowsman Trophy (of a guy fumbling the ball) is awarded. Few go onto some semblance of success. Last year the Kansas City Chiefs got Mr. Irrelevant, Ryan Succop. Succop went onto tie the record for most accurate kicking by a rookie with an 86.2% success rate.

The league’s other doormat, the Detroit Lions (with the Rams being the other one) will be the proud holder of this dubious pick this year. Among the contestants to be hitting golf balls in Newport this year are:

Robert Vaughn, Safety, Connecticut: this guy has a nose for the ball, but never really compiled big tackle numbers. Then again, if your safety is making a lot of tackles then something is wrong with the rest of your squad. Vaughn excels in coverage which is something the Lions do not. Last year they ranked dead last in pass defense, giving up over 265 yards a game.

Reggie Stephens, Offensive Line, Iowa State: standing 6’4” and weighing in at 313 pounds, this guy is a tank to say the least. He will do fine running blocking for whomever ends up toting the rock in the Lion backfield, but he will not be nearly as good providing Matt Stafford with some protection. A three-year starter who played three different positions in his career, it could be his versatility that will make him appealing to the Lions.

Kopa can't dance but he sure can hit

Matt Kopa, Tackle, Stanford: at 297 pounds and standing 6’6”, Kopa is one big man. He did not play much in 2009 due to a broken bone, but scouts may look at that as he is well rested. What will make him appealing is not just his size, but his ability to move. As a former defensive lineman he can move his feet, something that is vital for successful pass blocking. Kopa played a large part in Toby Gerhart’s success in 2008 which proves he can run block as well. It would not be surprising if Stafford is pushing the coaches to give this guy a chance.

Other potential Mr. Irrelevants include: Joe Pawelek, Linebacker, Baylor University; Chris Scott, Tackle, Tennessee; Derek Hardman, Tackle, East Kentucky.

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