NFL Draft: Minnesotan Ryan Hoag gives an inside look at 'Mr. Irrelevant'


The NFL Draft starts Thursday night, and while the focus of the first day will be on who will be drafted in the first round, there's another part of the draft that is far less talked about.

By now we've heard the stories: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was a 6th round pick – 15 years later he is a four-time Super Bowl champion.

Former Broncos quarterback John Elway didn't win a Super Bowl until Terrell Davis showed up, a 6th round pick himself. In 1997 and '98, it was Davis, not Elway, who helped propel the Broncos to back-to-back titles.

While Brady and Davis were late picks, not even they know what it feels like to be the last pick, also known as "Mr. Irrelevant."

But Ryan Hoag does.

Now a high school soccer coach at Minneapolis Washburn, Hoag was the last player taken in the 2003 NFL Draft. A standout at Division III Gustavus-Adolphus in St. Peter, Hoag was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the last pick in the draft.

While he has never played in a regular-season NFL game, Hoag did spend some time with quite a few teams – including the Vikings – over his three-year NFL career.

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Hoag offers and interesting perspective on what it's like to be Mr. Irrelevant in a story from From the excitement leading up to the draft, to the daily phone calls from NFL coaches, to the disappointment of watching the draft continue without hearing your name called.

"Next thing you know I get a call, and the lady on the other line tells me to hold for Bill Callahan, who was the Raiders coach. My eyes were huge, and everybody read my mind. They knew. He comes on the phone and asks, 'How would you like to be Mr. Irrelevant?' And there were so many emotions that went through my entire body at the time that I hung up on him. What a great first impression. No wonder they cut me. Everybody cheered. It was a surreal experience and something I'll never forget."

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