NFL Draft Mr Irrelevant Chandler Harnish
NFL Draft Mr Irrelevant Chandler Harnish, Mr. Irrelevant suddenly has a whole new meaning for Chandler Harnish.
The Northern Illinois quarterback who was taken with the 253rd and final pick of the draft Saturday didn’t just get a title and a vacation. He got a chance to play for his favorite NFL team and potentially to be a backup for Andrew Luck.
First, he’ll make the trip to Disneyland, appear in the Irrelevant Week parade in Newport Beach, Calif., and put his Colts license plate back on his car. Hey, it’s OK — he’s an Indiana native.
“I’m happy to be wanted by a team and I’m happy to be an Indianapolis Colt because that’s been my favorite team all the way through,” he told local reporters on a conference call shortly after the selection was announced.
For the Colts and the NFL, it was a historic first.
Indianapolis opened the draft by taking Luck, the Stanford quarterback, with the No. 1 overall selection and ended the draft by taking another quarterback in Harnish. It was the first time since 1967 that a non-expansion team had the first and last picks in the draft and only the third time in league history.
Neither of the previous teams, Houston in 2002 and Philadelphia in 1949, chose a quarterback with both picks.
Paul Salada, who founded Irrelevant Week in 1976, made the announcement and held up a blue-and-white Colts jersey with No. 253 on it.
One thing is already certain: Unlike Luck, who was handed a No. 12 jersey with his name stitched on the back, Harnish will not wear No. 253 when he reports to next weekend’s rookie mini-camp.
And for a guy who grew up playing at Norwell High School in northeastern Indiana, this was no joke, either.
“It’s complete elation. It’s surreal,” Harnish said. “I’m so happy I’m a Colt. I’m really, just speechless.”
Harnish set 30 school records at Northern Illinois, was a two-time all-Mid-American Conference selection, a three-time academic all-league choice and was chosen as the league’s MVP. He led the Huskies to the league title and their fourth straight bowl game in 2011.