College Sports

Southern Miss' Reed describes 'pandemonium' when he became Titans' Mr. Irrelevant

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD 
 Southern Miss defensive back Kalan Reed signals incomplete after breaking up a pass to UTAS's David Morgan II, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD Southern Miss defensive back Kalan Reed signals incomplete after breaking up a pass to UTAS's David Morgan II, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. SUN HERALD

Kalan Reed watched anxiously at his grandparents' house in Atlanta Saturday afternoon as the picks rolled in during the final four rounds of the NFL Draft.

The former Southern Miss cornerback summed up his draft day experience as "A lot of waiting," but the final outcome proved well worth the delay.

Reed was the final selection of the 2016 NFL Draft as the 253rd overall pick by the Tennessee Titans, earning the title of Mr. Irrelevant that's been handed down for several decades to the player who has his name called last.

The Titans informed him just a few minutes prior to the announcement that he would be picked, but it didn't sink in until his name flashed on the screen.

"I didn't believe it," Reed said Saturday night in a phone interview. "I just watched the TV. They told me while the other pick was being announced. I was just watching the TV for a while and I couldn't believe it until I saw it." The image on Reed's TV screen was that of a man holding an orange jersey that featured No. 253 and the title, "Mr. Irrelevant." His name was at the bottom of the screen beside the Titans logo.

The scene at the house was pure elation.

"Pandemonium," Reed said with a laugh. "It was crazy, 20-30 people going crazy. A lot of hugs and screaming. It was pretty hectic for about 30 minutes."

The Mr. Irrelevant jersey presented on the stage in Chicago Saturday was actually a Denver Broncos jersey because the final pick was initially supposed to go to the defending Super Bowl champions, but a trade with the Titans changed that.

Reed laughed about the whole experience Saturday night, but the mood was far from celebratory in the lead up to his selection.

Reed, who had a big senior season of four interceptions at USM, saw his draft stock increase in recent weeks thanks to an impressive Pro Day in Hattiesburg when he had a 41 1/2-inch vertical leap and a 40-yard dash of 4.38 seconds.

"I think that definitely helped," Reed said. "It was just putting up numbers that showed I'm athletic."

The 5-foot-11 195-pound Reed had been projected to be selected as high as the second round in a Washington Post mock draft, but he was more likely to land somewhere in the middle or late rounds.

He admitted to not having any idea where he would go to start the draft.

"It started getting frustrating not hearing my name called," Reed said. "I started getting calls more and more. The Titans called and I thought I was going to be a free agent and I was looking at free agent deals. The Titans' general manager called me. They picked me and it was over."

The title of Mr. Irrelevant is more than just a term of endearment for the biggest underdog of the draft.

The man who is the final selection of the NFL Draft also gets an invite to Newport Beach, Calif., to take part in "Irrelevant Week." The ceremonies involve a trophy presentation, a beach party and a parade.

On Saturday, Reed was more worried about getting everything in order for his short trip to Nashville to gather with the other Titans rookies on May 8. He has an opportunity to join the team he grew up rooting for in Birmingham, Ala.

What does Reed think of his Mr. Irrelevant title?

"I mean, it's just the last pick of the draft," he said. "I'm ready to get back on the field and work and earn a spot on the team."

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