Succop proved being picked last isn't always a bad thing

Former South Carolina kicker Ryan Succop, now in his 10th NFL season, kicked three field goals to lead the Tennessee Titans to a 9-6 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. File/Staff

The bar has been set for Tim Toone.

Who's Tim Toone, you ask? Fitting, since the Weber State receiver is Mr. Irrelevant -- the 255th and final pick of this past weekend's NFL draft.

The previous holder of that title, former South Carolina kicker Ryan Succop, proved himself to be quite relevant.

Despite it being something of a dubious distinction, Succop rose above the jokes and novelty act.

The 256th and last pick of the 2009 draft not only made Kansas City's roster, but he also won the starting kicking job before training camp even began.

One of only two place-kickers to be drafted last year (there were none this year), Succop went on to make 25 of his 29 field goal attempts. That included an overtime game-winner to beat the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I'd made kicks that turned out to be game-winners," Succop said, "but never one to win a game right then and there. It was a great moment for me and for the team. It meant so much to us as a team."

Compare that moment -- Succop jumping around, arms extended to the heavens, being mobbed by the Chiefs -- to the fact that most Mr. Irrelevants really are just that.

Let these names wash over you: Maine's Kevin McMahan, William Penn's Andy Stokes, Gustavus Adolphus' Ryan Hoag.

Those are some of the Mr. Irrelevants from the past few years. And that's just since 1992, when the NFL reduced the number of draft rounds from 12 to seven. Before that, there used to be 17 rounds.

So, just imagine the sorts of nobodies that used to close down the proceedings.

The 1994 version, Marty Moore, was the first to play in a Super Bowl, but that was as a special teams player. The 1999 Mr. Irrelevant, Jim Finn, hung around as a fullback for a few years.

But, really, success is pretty minimal for those earning the distinction; last is literally least.

In actuality, Idaho's David Vobora set the bar.

The 2008 Mr. Irrelevant stemmed anonymity to become a starting linebacker last season for the St. Louis Rams. Granted, the Rams went on to go 1-15, "earning" the top spot in the 2010 draft.

Succop easily surpassed Vobora's high mark.

His 25 field goals set a franchise record, breaking Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud's 43-year-old record of 21 field goals. Succop won the Mack Lee Hill Award, which is given to Kansas City's top rookie.

"I kicked the ball about as well as I could've asked for," said Succop, a native of Hickory, N.C. "I was blessed with a great year and a great opportunity. I'm very thankful for that."

Some say it's better to go undrafted than to go late in the draft, in the sixth or seventh rounds. That way, they reason, you can select the team that suits you rather than getting into a no-win situation that ends in job termination.

Succop saw it differently. He hit his knees to pray a half-hour before the draft completed.

Realizing he had have a tough time choosing between teams, Succop actually wanted a sign. That sign came in the form of hearing his name called -- even if it was called last -- by Kansas City.

Succop worked with first-year special teams coach Steve Hoffman during the summer, in the weeks leading up to training camp.

By the time camp started, the Chiefs had cut incumbent kicker Connor Barth. That left Succop, and Succop alone. Talk about a confidence booster.

Succop said the move helped because he was able to get all the reps during camp, and even into the team's preseason games.

"That really allowed me to get comfortable and get used to my snapper and holder," Succop said. "Those guys do such a great job."

But, of course, perhaps the most relevant Mr. Irrelevant in NFL history deserves his fair share of credit.

Even going last in the draft, Succop appears to have found a near-perfect home.

"All along I kind of looked at it as an opportunity to make the team," Succop said. "I took advantage of it. Now, I've got to build upon that."

Reach Travis Haney at, check out the Gamecocks blog at and follow him on Twitter (@gamecocksblog).