Cardinals make Louisville’s Christian 2015 Mr. Irrelevant
TEMPE, Ariz. — Gerald Christian had only a vague notion of what it meant to be Mr. Irrelevant in the NFL Draft. He’s about to get a full-blown education.
The Cardinals selected the Louisville tight end with the final pick in the 2015 draft on Saturday, keeping alive a tradition that started in 1976 with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ selection of receiver Kelvin Kirk with the 487th and last pick in what was then a 17-round draft (the horror).
"I’m hearing now I get to go be in a parade and all types of stuff," Christian said on a conference call. "I’m going to enjoy it. I get to go to California. I’ve never been over there."
Cardinals quarterback Chandler Harnish announced the pick on Saturday in Chicago. Harnish was Mr. Irrelevant in 2012 — picked by the Colts as that year’s final selection.
Arizona was awarded the final pick in the draft in March as compensation for losing free agents after the 2013 season. Under NFL rules, teams aren’t allowed to trade compensatory picks.
In July, Christian will spend a week in Newport Beach, Calif., for Irrelevant Week during which he’ll receive the Lowsman Trophy and make various appearances.
"It certainly does bring a different level of significance because it’s pretty cool how the NFL has a parade now and they make a big deal out of it," Cards GM Steve Keim said.
Of the last six Mr. Irrelevants, four are on NFL rosters. Defensive back Lonnie Ballantine (2014) plays for Houston, tight end Justice Cunningham (2013) plays for St. Louis, Harnish (2012) plays for the Cardinals and kicker Ryan Succop (2009) kicks for Tennessee.
Succop set the Kansas City Chiefs’ rookie record with 25 field goals in 2009.
Christian (6-3, 244) had 32 catches for 384 yards and five touchdowns last season. The Cardinals’ top tight ends are John Carlson, Troy Niklas and Darren Fells, but they have an opening available on the roster following the departure of Rob Housler in free agency. Coach Bruce Arians believes Christian has a chance to make the team.
"I guess they just liked me because they felt I’m very versatile," said Christian, who has been told he’d play as an H-back if he makes the team. "I like doing the dirty work. I know the game’s changing a lot now and most tight ends like to catch.
"I feel like I can play tight end, catching and running routes, and I’m not scared to play a little fullback. When I was at Louisville, I lined up in the I-(formation) and did a lot of iso and lead blocking so I’m not scared to put my face in there either."