Cards' pick Wilson embraces Mr. Irrelevant status

TEMPE, Ariz. --Caleb Wilson was watching the NFL draft on TV on Saturday afternoon when the broadcast began explaining Mr. Irrelevant -- the final pick in the draft -- and everything that comes with that distinction.

The UCLA tight end didn't know much about the honor but said he was already nervous, having yet to be picked when the Arizona Cardinals went on the clock with the 254th and final pick.

Moments later, Wilson's name was called.

"It got a little scary at the end, but once that Arizona number popped up on my phone, I was definitely relieved," Wilson said. "It got a little shaky at the end going last pick."

After being picked last, Wilson will be honored with a trip to Newport Beach, California, for Irrelevant Week from June 28 to July 2. The brainchild of former NFL player Paul Salata, Irrelevant Week will include the Lowsman Banquet at Balboa Bay Resort, and Wilson will receive the 44th Lowsman Trophy, which features a figuring who's fumbling a football.

"I just embrace it," Wilson said on a conference call after being chosen. "All I needed was my name to get called and the opportunity. It's a lifelong dream as a kid to be picked in the NFL draft, so just to see my name pop up on the screen and the happiness on my family's face.

"I just embraced it all. It's an honor, to be honest."

Wilson was a second-team All-American at UCLA and led the Bruins last season in receptions (60) and receiving yards (965). He also led all tight ends nationally in receiving yards, receptions per game (5.0) and receiving yards per game (80.4).

Wilson transferred to UCLA after a season at USC in 2015, when his father, Chris Wilson, a two-time All-American at Oklahoma and a 1992 draft pick, was a Trojans assistant coach. Chris Wilson is now the defensive-line coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and someone Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said he knows well.

"Really liked his character, his intangibles, what he brings to the table on and off the field," Keim said of Caleb Wilson.

Wilson said he tried not to pay much attention to the draft chatter surrounding him, but in the sixth and seventh rounds, he began hearing some buzz that Arizona was interested.

Then he got the call.

Keim called making Wilson Mr. Irrelevant a "special thing."

"I think it's almost like the American way," Keim said. "It's like you have an opportunity just because you're the last pick in the draft. It doesn't matter where you're picked.

"We all have a chance to do big things. We all know where the guy who was the MVP in the Super Bowl was drafted, so, again, it makes our jobs fun."
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