The “Mr. Irrelevant” title is staying in California.
With the No. 259 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams selected Desjuan Johnson, defensive end out of Toledo. The pick designated Johnson as the latest Mr. Irrelevant, a title given to the player taken last in the annual event.
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Though the Mr. Irrelevant tag typically doesn’t carry significant weight, the player who went last in 2022 became quite the relevant figure around the league after leading his team to success despite strenuous circumstances.
That gives Johnson a platform to possibly replicate some good fortune in his own rookie season. Here’s what to know about Johnson, the 2023 NFL Draft’s Mr. Irrelevant:
How old is Desjuan Johnson?
Johnson is 23 years old. He is a native of Detroit, Mich.
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What school did Desjuan Johnson attend?
Johnson attended the University of Toledo (MAC) for all five years of his college eligibility.
What position does Desjuan Johnson play?
Johnson is a 6-foot-3, 285-pound defensive lineman, who can play both off the edge or inside.
Who drafted Desjuan Johnson?
The Los Angeles Rams drafted Johnson with pick No. 259 in the 2023 NFL Draft – the last pick of the draft.
What were Desjuan Johnson’s college stats?
Through five seasons (51 games total), Johnson logged 210 total tackles (88 solo, 122 assists, 45.5 for a loss), 14.5 sacks and one interception. He was a three-star recruit coming out of East English Village Prep in Detroit.
Johnson was once described by Bowling Green head coach Scott Loeffler as the “Aaron Donald of the MAC.” That might explain why the Rams chose him.
Who was the “Mr. Irrelevant” in the 2022 NFL Draft?
In 2022, the San Francisco 49ers took QB Brock Purdy out of Iowa State with the last pick of the draft. Initially being on the roster as a third-stringer behind Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, Purdy eventually ascended to becoming an Offensive Player of the Year finalist when injuries to the aforementioned two put the spotlight on the Cyclone product.
The 49ers, which had a Super Bowl-caliber roster, maintained that title with Purdy helping the team to a 5-0 record as a starter in the regular season before winning his first two playoff games. However, an injury early on in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles – later to be diagnosed as a UCL injury – caused him to miss out the rest of the game, which the 49ers lost.
But the young quarterback showed it’s not where you’re taken in the draft that defines you, it’s how you optimize your situation and prove that you belong. Johnson will look to do the same as part of the Rams’ defensive-line rotation in 2023 and beyond.