At 6:14 MT Thursday in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the Cleveland Browns had selected Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett with the first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Sometime Saturday night, the Denver Broncos, barring a trade, will make the 253rd pick, also known as Mr. Irrelevant. Since 1976, that moniker has been given to the final pick of the NFL Draft. The Colorado Buffaloes are one of only four schools (Northwestern State, Weber State and South Carolina the others) to produce two such picks.
After helping the Buffs to a share of the Big 8 title his senior season in Boulder, running back Jim Kelleher was selected by the Minnesota Vikings with 335th and final pick (back then the draft was 12 rounds) of the 1977 NFL Draft. “I wasn’t embarrassed about being singled out as the last draft pick” he told the Denver Post last year. “Being drafted was a goal of mine and I achieved it.” Seven years later, it was a Buffs signal caller bestowed with the title of Mr. Irrelevant. Despite leading the Buffs to only six wins during his three years in Boulder, Randy Essington was chosen with the 336th pick by Al Davis’ Oakland Raiders in 1984.
Neither Kelleher or Essington played a down in the NFL, but that was not uncommon in the 70s and the 80s when the NFL Draft consisted of 12 rounds. Since the draft moved to its current seven round format in 1994, more players that have taken on the title of Mr. Irrelevant, well, have become relevant. Take Ryan Succop for example. After being selected last by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2009 NFL Draft, the former South Carolina kicker has become one of the NFL’s most reliable kickers. Playing for the Tennessee Titans last year, he ranked fourth among NFL starters connecting on 92% of his field goal attempts.
As I mentioned earlier, Denver has the last pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. They also currently have two quarterbacks listed on their roster, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. Most NFL teams have at least three signal callers, so the Broncos could be looking to add some depth at the position. The all-time leading passer for the Colorado Buffaloes might just be the answer.
After leading the Buffs to a 10-4 record and their first bowl game since 2007, some NFL Draft prognosticators have Sefo Liufau being taken in the 7th round. The most likely scenario involves the Tacoma, Washington product as a free agent signee following the draft. "I'm just overall excited to hopefully have the opportunity to go somewhere and play football," Liufau told Buffzone.com writer Brian Howell. "I'm just looking for a shot. As long as I get that, I'll totally be happy with that."
However, should the Broncos select Liufau with the 253rd pick Saturday evening, Colorado would become the first program to earn the “so-called” dubious honor of having three players selected as Mr. Irrelevant.