PHILADELPHIA — Cam Quayle went on to be a dentist. Bill Kenney was elected a state senator in Missouri. Ryan Hoag appeared on the television reality show “The Bachelorette.” Marty Moore played in a Super Bowl.
Don’t recognize the names? That’s O.K. Or better said, that’s irrelevant, because the point is not who they are but what they were — Mr. Irrelevants.
Most players are so focused on trying to prepare for their first N.F.L. training camp that it takes them time to fully appreciate the attention being showered on them as the last pick.
“Everyone in the N.F.L. is steadfast that if you’re not picked in the first round, you might as well be last,” Hoag said. But celebrating the last pick in the draft makes sense, he said, because “you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than getting drafted in the N.F.L.”
Hoag has made the most of his odd celebrity. After leaving the N.F.L., he worked in Italy as a model, and appeared on the reality show “Bachelor Pad” along with “The Bachelorette.” He now coaches tennis and works with children with disabilities.
Salata asks each winner what he would like to do during his celebration. Hoag, for instance, wanted to be the guest announcer on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, which was arranged. At least one visited the Playboy Mansion. Others have taken surfing lessons or visited Disneyland.
Salata’s generosity, though, has its limits. In 2001, the Arizona Cardinals chose tight end Tevita Ofahengaue last in the draft. Told to his bring family, Ofahengaue, who is from Tonga, where extended families stick together, took that literally and invited 62 people, with 35 friends and additional relatives showing up on their own.
That led to the “Ofahengaue Rule.” Now, players can bring one person free, but others must pay their own airfare.
Ofahengaue, who played parts of three seasons and now works as the director of recruiting operations at his alma mater, Brigham Young, said he remained friends with Salata and his family, and was proud that he had been recognized for overcoming the odds and being drafted, regardless of the round.
“It’s something they can’t take away from me,” Ofahengaue said. “It’s like the ‘Rudy’ story.”