“They looked at me kind of puzzled,” said Vobora, who seconds later heard the roar from the room that accompanied word he had been the 252nd and last pick in the NFL Draft.
Only moments before, while sitting with his draft-party guests, the topic of Irrelevant Week — a weeklong celebration of the final pick in the NFL Draft begun by Salata, who played receiver at USC and in the NFL before becoming a renowned Newport Beach businessman and philanthropist — was broached by a guest.
“Someone said they thought the last pick go a car,” Vobora said. “So, we Googled it and found out about the Mr. Irrelevant thing. We laughed.”
It wasn’t long ago that Vobora himself, a 6-foot-1, 242-pound outside linebacker, would have laughed at the suggestion that he’d have a chance to make an NFL roster.
A former star at Churchill High in Eugene, Ore., where he played linebacker, running back, quarterback, tight end and wherever else his coaches deemed he could help the team win, Vobora had been tested, but hardly triumphant as a special teams player and outside linebacker for the Vandals.
“I came into Idaho at 195 pounds,” Vobora said. “So, you can imagine that colliding with 300-pound linemen wasn’t always the prettiest outcome for me. My sophomore year, I was pretty frustrated. But Coach [Nick] Holt [then head coach at Idaho who is now the defensive coordinator at USC] told me I was going to be an All-WAC player and I kind of reminded him of Lofa Tatupu [a former USC star who immediately became a standout linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks upon entering the NFL]. He said I was going to be a stud.”