Mr. Irrelevant: Rams select Toledo DL Desjuan Johnson to end 2023 NFL Draft

By Bobby Kownack, Digital Content Producer

The Los Angeles Rams closed out the 2023 NFL Draft by using the No. 259 overall pick to select defensive lineman Desjuan Johnson, otherwise known as the new Mr. Irrelevant.

A five-year contributor at Toledo, Johnson emerged as a full-time starter in his final two seasons with the Rockets and went on to finish his collegiate career with two second-team All-MAC campaigns, 210 tackles (45.5 for loss), 14.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.

Bestowing the final pick of each year’s draft with the Mr. Irrelevant moniker has been a tradition since 1976, but the label has perhaps never come with bigger footsteps to follow after Brock Purdy, pick No. 262 in 2022, defied all expectations for the 49ers.

Purdy ascended to become San Francisco’s starter last season after injuries to both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, and he went on to win his first seven starts (including playoffs), while throwing for 1,920 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. His run stopped with a torn UCL and loss in the NFC Championship Game, but all signs point to him having the lead to be Kyle Shanahan’s new QB of the future as he rehabs his way back.

Johnson won’t see the same spotlight playing along the defensive line as a QB would have, but the Rams will be hoping he makes the roster and makes an impact alongside other rookie linemen like third-round defensive tackle Kobie Turner. And he could have no better mentor than seven-time All-Pro Aaron Donald.

Perhaps he’ll one day score a sack on his Mr. Irrelevant predecessor — the two will see each other twice a year in the NFC West.

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