Q&A;: Salata excited for NFL Draft

Paul Salata, the creator of Mr. Irrelevant, has some history with the team making the final pick in the NFL Draft that starts Thursday and ends Saturday.

Salata, a Newport Beach resident, played for the Colts when they were in Baltimore in 1950. He connected with future Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle, catching 50 passes in 12 games after being traded from the San Francisco 49ers early in the season.

Salata, 85, likes to find connections to the team making the selection and later with the player drafted as Mr. Irrelevant.

He'll find out who that is after the Indianapolis Colts send in their pick for him to announce as the 37th Mr. Irrelevant at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

The excitement is building as the draft approaches. Salata and his staff have a contest for those who want to predict Mr. Irrelevant. The winner will win $253, as the pick is No. 253, and will also be a guest during the Lowsman Trophy All-Star Banquet in Newport Beach on June 13, when he or she will receive a prize basket.

You can enter the contest in four ways. You can email your pick to irrelevantweek@gmail.com, tweet it @irrelevantweek, post it on the Facebook Irrelevant Week fan page, or mail it to 3723 Birch St., Suite 11, Newport Beach, CA 92660.

Include your draft selection, your name, email or phone number. If there is a tie, the winner will be selected by coin flip.

Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday.

Maybe the Colts will find a receiver for their new quarterback, Andrew Luck, who they are going to take with the first pick.

Salata says his mantra is: "Hold your horses, Colts."

Salata answered a few questions from the Daily Pilot before leaving for New York.


Question: How does it feel like to announce the last pick in the NFL Draft?

Answer: Awesome. It's overwhelming. They keep telling you, you have to be formal. There's 130 million people watching, no goofing around. There is a guy that holds up a sign, "Make It Short." I love being a part of it and so do all the people in Orange County.

Question: What should we expect from this year's announcement of the pick? I heard Will Ferrell will be a part of it. Any truth to that?

Answer: Expect? All business, as usual. I hope Mr. Irrelevant's name is easy to pronounce.

Will Ferrell is going to have to get his own program. This is about Newport Beach and Orange County and the underdog that we are supporting.

Question: What is your best memory of the NFL Draft?

Answer: How far it has gone from a half-day, pain-in-the-neck to three days of participation, contests, advertising and press coverage. It's another first that the NFL has started in professional sports.

In the beginning, each team would have a rep in a hotel room - no fans, no public, no draftniks. When it went to Madison Square Garden, I thought that it couldn't get bigger or better than that. It was a two-day draft, 5,000 spectators, people in line, sleeping outside on the sidewalk for two days, trying to be one of the fans allowed entry into the Draft. Now it's three days, in Radio City Music Hall - a huge media event.

Question: Why do you continue to do Irrelevant Week and Mr. Irrelevant?

Answer: Irrelevant Week does so much for the community and the NFL encourages it; it is very supportive. All the teams like it because it is about things that are moral building, equality of all the players, celebrating the underdog, and it's not destructive.

Question: The Colts are really bad. What do you think of Mr. Irrelevant's chances of making the team?

Answer: His odds are better than before. Now there are more teams and less picks, so the selection is likely to be a more highly skilled player when there are only seven rounds. It was 15 rounds when we started Irrelevant Week in 1976.

Question: Who's your prediction of Mr. Irrelevant?

Answer: My educated prediction is that it will be someone who hasn't been picked in the first 252 selections. Mr. Irrelevant? I'll say: T.J. Simers.


Twitter: @SteveVirgen

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