'Mr. Irrelevant' Brock Purdy can make history as a final NFL Draft pick

José M. Romero
Arizona Republic
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When Brock Purdy last played a football game at State Farm Stadium, it was the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2021, and it was a day to remember for the former Gilbert Perry High School star quarterback.

Two years ago, Purdy and his Iowa State Cyclones topped Oregon 34-17, with Purdy throwing for and running for a touchdown on his way to the game's Offensive MVP award.

In April 2022, Purdy was the last player chosen in the NFL Draft, Player No. 262 selected by the San Francisco 49ers and therefore, the bearer of the annual Mr. Irrelevant moniker. But Purdy is far from irrelevant now, and if the 49ers can win the NFC Championship Game on the road Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, Purdy will be the quarterback to guide his team to Super Bowl 57. At State Farm Stadium.

It's a story for the ages if it plays out as such: a Mr. Irrelevant who gets his chance to play when the two 49ers quarterbacks ahead of him are lost to injuries and not only plays well, but wins in the postseason and his team is one victory away from the Super Bowl.

Purdy threw 13 touchdowns to four interceptions this season after taking over as the 49ers starter on Dec. 11 in Week 14. He was named one of three finalists for the 2022 Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year award on Wednesday, despite only being a starter for the past seven games and five of those in the regular season.

Purdy is undefeated in those seven games.

Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy gets picked as Mr. Irrelevant with the San Francisco 49ers 262nd and last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft on Saturday, April 30, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Doug Benc)

Purdy is the 45th player to be given the title of Mr. Irrelevant. The annual celebration of the final pick in the draft began in 1976 with the Pittsburgh Steelers taking wide receiver Kelvin Kirk out of Dayton.

Kirk was the 487th player selected in 1976. The draft has been streamlined to seven rounds, which increases the chances of a Mr. Irrelevant making a 53-man roster.

Former USC and NFL wide receiver and actor Paul Salata was the originator of Mr. Irrelevant. He would invite the player for week's vacation in Newport Beach, California, as a way to honor him.

Salata announced the draft's final pick until 2013, and his daughter Melanie Fitch has done it ever since.

The first Mr. Irrelevant to play in and win a Super Bowl was kicker Ryan Succop with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021, at Super Bowl 55. Succop was the 256h overall pick of the 2009 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.

The draft was reduced to seven rounds in 1994. Purdy is one of six seventh-round quarterbacks to appear in playoff games, but none of those accomplished that in their rookie season until Purdy did it in the 2022 campaign.

Interestingly, the Arizona Cardinals have had three Mr. Irrelevants and all were tight ends — Tevita Ofahengaue in 2001, Gerald Christian in 2015 and Caleb Wilson in 2019.

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