It’s a gym class kid's worst nightmare: getting picked last.
Every year, that nightmare becomes one NFL hopeful's reality. "Mr. Irrelevant" is the title awarded to the last pick of the league’s annual draft, a player who usually isn't expected to have a long NFL career. On average, their NFL career lasts three years.
In 2009, Ryan Succop was “Mr. Irrelevant” — the 256th overall draft pick for the Kansas City Chiefs. But now, in the middle of his seventh season, the starting kicker is proving that titles don't mean much.
“Lord willing… I’m just getting started,” Succop told TODAY of his professional football career.
During the 2009 draft, Succop said, he watched draftees called one-by-one sitting around his television, just like fans do. That is, until he got the call. Succop said being picked last wasn't a big deal to him; he was just happy to have a place on the team.
Since 1976, Mr. Irrelevant has been honored with a week of celebrations in the summer after the draft selection. The week usually involves a week in Newport Beach, California complete with a parade, a golf tournament, a ceremony and a trophy of a football player fumbling the football.
“They have this parade for you on the beach and I'm thinking, 'Hey, this is pretty sweet," Succop said. "'I'm gonna be pulling up to the beach on one of these awesome million dollar yachts!””
Instead, the NFL gave the 2009 honoree a not-so-grand entrance on small kayak. Despite being mocked throughout the ordeal, Succop said the experience only motivated him.
He tied the NFL record for the highest completion percentage of any NFL rookie kicker that year, and made the most field goals of any rookie in Chiefs history. His performance even earned him a spot on the NFL's All-Rookie team.
In 2014, Succop signed with the Tennessee Titans, and during his first game for the team (against his former team, The Chiefs), Succop completed all four field goal attempts to help the Titans win 26-10.
Now in his second season for the Titans (and seventh in the NFL), Succop signed a three-year-deal worth $7.2 million.
The road to the NFL and success in the league wasn't easy for Succop. Before the draft, during his senior year at the University of South Caroline, he developed a sports hernia that required surgery only months before the draft.
“There were times where I was discouraged and I felt like, why is this happening to me?" Succop said.
Succop said that even though society puts a lot of emphasis on to “winning or losing,” which is also the basis of his entire career, he wants people to know there’s never a reason to be anxious.
“If you work hard," he said. "Just let the chips fall where they may.”