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Jets select Alabama defensive back as 2024 NFL Draft’s ‘Mr. Irrelevant’

The New York Jets hope they found a diamond in the rough with this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant.”

That title goes to the final selection of each NFL Draft.

This year, there were 257 draft picks since Thursday night.

And after seeing 256 players taken ahead of him, Alabama safety Jaylen Key still got a life-changing call when the Jets selected him at 257.

Key transferred to Tuscaloosa after spending four years at UAB, where he played 43 games.

He appeared in 12 of the Crimson Tide’s 14 games last season, recording 60 tackles.

While the expectations are low for Key, there is a prize in being the last man chosen.

Every year, Mr. Irrelevant and his family are invited to Newport Beach, California, for a week of golfing, visiting Disneyland and living a rather relevant lifestyle.

Last year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Desjuan Johnson of the Los Angeles Rams, recorded two sacks in his 11 games last season. He played in a season-high 48% defensive snaps in their final game of the regular season but played in just three snaps in their playoff game against the Detroit Lions.

Jaylen Key defending


In almost every case, there aren’t many expectations for Mr. Irrelevant, but the final pick from 2022 has flipped the script.

That year’s Mr. Irrelevant was Brock Purdy, who became the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback after multiple injuries to other players. He led the Niners to an NFC title game in 2023 and a Super Bowl appearance in 2024.

Since taking over, he has gone 21-6 as a starter, completing 68.7% of his passes for 5,654 yards, 44 touchdowns and just 15 interceptions. Purdy was named to the Pro Bowl last season and finished fourth in the MVP voting.

Jaylen Key against Michigan

Maybe the title doesn’t show it, but at the very least, “Mr. Irrelevant” is more relevant to the sport than a lot of other players.

Teams will continue acquiring players after the draft as undrafted free agents.

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