Leading up to the draft there is a lot of attention paid to the first pick of the draft. With a franchise looking to use this person as a key building block after a dismal season, picking the right guy is vital (not to mention he’ll be getting paid millions and millions of dollars).
However, there is one other guy that draft aficionados will be looking for. He will only get the league minimum of $325,000 (poor guy), and that is only if he makes the team. Even if he does not make the final cut (or any cut) he and his family will get a trip to Newport Beach for a weeklong celebration in his honor. Not a bad deal for someone referred to as Mr. Irrelevant.
Last year the Kansas City Chiefs chose Ryan Succop, a kicker from South Carolina. He proved to be a pretty valuable addition to the Chiefs last year converting 86.2% of his kicks and setting a record for accuracy for a rookie kicker.
This year the hapless Detroit Lions will be have the dubious distinction of picking this year’s Mr. Irrelevant. With the quality of some of the players available in the early rounds, it is likely that Detroit will look to fill some of their defensive needs and possibly grab another running back first. However, the Lions are in need of offensive line help to protect Matt Stafford and open holes for whoever does run the ball. Here are a few of the players that could be available at the end of the draft and could hence become the next Mr. Irrelevant:
Reggie Stephens, Offensive Line, Iowa State
: when your 6’4” and weighing in at 313 pounds people tend to call you things like Tank, Biggun, Gigantor, and even Tiny. However, if you don’t like them you can guarantee that no one will ever say them to your face. Stephens will be a very capable run blocker for whoever runs the ball for the Lions next season although as a pass blocker his skills could use some work. Versatility could be the key for Stephen’s professional career; the three year starter played three different positions during his college career.
Matt Kopa, Tackle, Stanford: a broken bone kept this 6’6”, 297 pounder of the field for much of the 2009 season. The man knows how to move his feet having played on the other side of the ball as a defensive lineman, something that will be vital for successful pass blocking. It would not be surprising if Stafford is pushing the coaches to give this guy a chance.
Kenny Alfred, OL, Washington State: standing 6’2” and weighing in at 300 pounds this guy could be a force with the right line coach to continue bringing him along. At a team as dismal as Washington State he has been able to get a lot of experience starting in 44 games throughout his college career including all 12 his senior season where he was named player of the week seven times. It is seldom that a lineman gets such a distinction so it tells you that there is hope for this guy even when the going is tough.
Beer: Atwater Voodoo Vator from the Atwater Block Brewery– with the auto industry hurting in recent years and the Lions being the Lions the people around Detroit have every reason to want to drink. With Voodoo Vator they will not need to drink many to dull the pain since this beer comes in at a potent 9.5% ABV. The kick does not define this brew though; two caramel malts along with Munich malt make this beer one of the smoothest, best tasting beers in Detroit. Maybe with the right draft fans can lift these in joy rather than despair next season.