NFL draft 2023 Mr. Irrelevant: Desjuan Johnson of

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Meet NFL’s ‘Mr. Irrelevant’: Rams make Toledo’s

For decades, “Mr. Irrelevant” has rarely been relevant in the NFL. That changed last year with the rise of Brock Purdy, who the San Francisco 49ers selected with the final pick in 2022. 

This year, the Los Angeles Rams had the last word of the 2023 NFL Draft, selecting Toledo defensive end Desjuan Johnson at No. 259.

The Rams landed the final pick in a deal with the Texans that allowed Houston to select Alabama linebacker Henry To’oTo’o with the No. 167 pick in the fifth round.

Johnson was a five-year player at Toledo, and his numbers progressed each season. After recording a sack in each of his first two seasons, Johnson recorded 2.5 sacks in 2020, 4.5 sacks in 2021 and 5.5 sacks in 2022. He emerged as a full-time starter in his final two seasons and went on to finish his collegiate career with two second-team All-MAC campaigns. 

He boasts 210 tackles (45.5 for loss), 14.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception in his college career.

The “Mr. Irrelevant” moniker has been a tradition since 1976, but there’s no doubt that Purdy rewrote the history books when it comes to being the draft’s final pick. Purdy, a third-string quarterback at the time, stepped into the 49ers’ starting role when both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo were injured, leading the Niners to eight straight victories and all the way to the NFC championship game. He passed for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions during the campaign.

Johnson likely won’t see the same spotlight as a quarterback would have in this position, but he’ll hope to join a handful of players that ended up having a good deal of success at the NFL level after being “Mr. Irrelevant”, such as longtime veteran kicker Ryan Succop (2009), Mike Green (2000) and Tyrone McGriff (1980).

There have been 47 “Mr. Irrelevants”, starting with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ selection of Dayton wide receiver Kelvin Kirk.

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Toledo’s Desjuan Johnson selected by Rams in NFL

Johnson, a defensive tackle, was selected by Los Angeles with the draft’s last pick, also known as Mr. Irrelevant.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Editor note: the above story is from December when the Toledo Rockets were playing in the Boca Raton Bowl.

On the NFL Draft’s final day and final pick, the Los Angeles Rams selected the University of Toledo’s Desjuan Johnson with the 259th pick of the draft.

The Rockets defensive tackle is this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” the name given to the player taken with the last pick in the draft.

Despite the somewhat rude nickname, Johnson is unlikely to be complaining about being picked.

“I feel very blessed to be taken in the draft by the Rams,” said Johnson. “It didn’t matter to me where I was drafted. I just left it in God’s hands. I plan on putting my best foot forward and prove to everybody that I belong. I also feel very fortunate to be playing with one of favorite players, Aaron Donald. I plan on soaking up as much knowledge from him as I can. I’m lucky to be learning from him this early in my career.”

Last season, Johnson helped lead Toledo to a Mid-American Conference championship and a bowl game victory.

He finished the year with 65 total tackles and 5.5 sacks. He also had an interception against Bowling Green.

The Detroit, Michigan native is the third Rockets player to be drafted since last year, joining Toledo native Tycen Anderson to the Bengals, and Samuel Womack to the 49ers. 

Shortly after the conclusion of the draft, Desjuan’s teammate, Dyontae Johnson, signed an undrafted free agent deal with the New York Giants.

“I’m excited to be joining the Giants,” said Dyontae Johnson. “I had a lot of communications and a personal workout with them so I knew they were very interested. I had a good conversation with the position coach so I feel like I can definitely help them at linebacker.”

Desjaun and Dyontae Johnson, both Detroit natives, were close on and off the field and now will get the chance to live out their NFL dreams.


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Los Angeles Rams select OSU safety Jason Taylor II

The Los Angeles Rams selected former OSU safety Jason Taylor II with the 234th overall pick in the seventh round of the NFL Draft on Saturday 

Taylor II spent five seasons in Stillwater, racking up 138 solo tackles and eight interceptions, including six in 2022-23. He makes the transition from OSU to the NFL after earning a First Team All-Big 12 selection and serving as one of the Cowboys’ team captains last season.

He impressed at the NFL Combine in March, as he posted a 43-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot-9 broad jump and a 4.50-second 40-yard dash. 

Taylor II is the second Cowboy selected in this year’s draft, joining defensive lineman Tyler Lacy, who was selected in the fourth round with the 130th pick.


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‘Vanderpump Rules’ Star Gets Compared To Tucker

Two of TV’s most reviled men got roasted during the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night.

Tucker Carlson earned an apt comparison to “Vanderpump Rules” lothario Tom Sandoval during host Roy Wood Jr.’s remarks at the annual event.

Wood poked at Carlson’s recent ouster from Fox News, saying, “The untouchable Tucker Carlson is out of a job, but to Tucker’s staff, I want you to know that I know what you’re feeling.”

“I work at ‘The Daily Show,’ so I too have been blindsided by the sudden departure of the host of a fake news program,” the comedian said of ex-“Daily Show” anchor Trevor Noah.

"Vanderpump Rules" star Tom Sandoval and Fox News alum Tucker Carlson were both the butt of the joke at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday.
“Vanderpump Rules” star Tom Sandoval and Fox News alum Tucker Carlson were both the butt of the joke at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday.

Wood wasn’t cutting Carlson any slack. “Tucker got caught up. Got caught up like that dude from ‘Vanderpump Rules,’” he said.

Carlson’s crass texts about Fox colleagues reportedly clinched his exit from the network.

Sandoval’s now-notorious affair, known as “Scandoval” to reality devotees, came to light after his ex, Ariana Madix, discovered lurid texts with co-star Raquel Leviss.

Madix was all about the joke as she dropped her jaw and stifled a laugh while sitting besides Bravo doyenne Lisa Vanderpump and co-star Lala Kent.

Lala Kent (left), Lisa Vanderpump and Ariana Madix arrive for the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Saturday.
Lala Kent (left), Lisa Vanderpump and Ariana Madix arrive for the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday.


“I don’t know what ‘Vanderpump Rules’ is about,” Wood went on. “I just watched it a couple times, but my friends tell me it’s like ‘BMF’ for white people.”

Madix, Vanderpump and Kent attended the dinner on behalf of the Daily Mail.

Expressing her admiration for politics, Madix told the outlet, “My wonderful late grandmother was very active in local politics and I’ve always dreamed of visiting the White House, so this is an incredible honor.”

Watch Roy Wood Jr.’s full speech below. His “Vanderpump Rules” bit starts around 4:40.

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I work as a performer on a cruise ship – here’s

A CRUISE ship performer has revealed what it’s really like to live and work on an international voyage.

Acrobat Abigail Hill performs on Oasis of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean vessel.

A cruise ship performer has revealed what it's like to work on a Royal Caribbean vessel


A cruise ship performer has revealed what it’s like to work on a Royal Caribbean vesselCredit: Alamy
Abigail Hill has been working on board cruise ships for nine years


Abigail Hill has been working on board cruise ships for nine yearsCredit: Royal Caribbean

Abigail first started performing on Celebrity Cruises before moving to Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.

She’s also performed on other Royal Caribbean vessels including Harmony of the Seas.

She told Sun Online Travel: “I started gymnastics when I was younger, but it was through drama and dance that I found my way into the industry.”

While studying dance at college, Abigail began auditioning to become an entertainer on a cruise ship.

In her nine years working on board cruise ships, Abigail has gotten to grips with the lifestyle and knows what it takes to live and work on deck.

She said: “I get up in the morning and if we’re at port my friends and I go to the beach or into the city.

“After a few hours, we get back on the ship and prepare for the show in the evening – it’s a good life.”

If the ship isn’t docked at a port, Abigail and her friends will go for a walk and have a coffee on the ship.

As well as enjoying her day-to-day routine, she’s also been able to meet a range of people from all walks of life.

She added: “I like that most people are from different places and I get to meet people from different nations and see different places meeting different people.”

Abigail says she now has friends all over the world thanks to her job as an acrobat.

In addition to meeting people from across the globe, Abigail’s job has taken her to some far-flung destinations.

She added: “Every place I’ve been to is amazing. While I enjoy going to all of the beaches, my favourite place I’ve visited was Alaska.

“I was surprised by how warm it was and the views were breathtaking – I never imagined seeing something like that before.

“It’s just another reminder that there’s so much more to see in the world.”

She said: “Aside from that, I just love being able to perform.”

In recent years, Abigail has been able to create her own performances and routines and loved to perform in the aqua theatre on Royal Caribbean cruises.

For any other performers thinking about life on the high seas, Abigail had some words of wisdom: “Just make sure you go for everything, and keep pushing yourself because you have to really want it.”

Meanwhile, for those holidaymakers who are happy to simply relax onboard, the acrobat shared some advice.

She added: “Make sure to check the weather forecasts before you go and don’t just guess a temperature.

“On a cruise around Alaska, I thought it would be really cold but it was actually really hot.

“Some of my family members came out to join me but they’d packed for the wrong weather.”

As well as making sure you’re equipped with the right garments, she recommended bringing a good sun cream too.

Despite living her dream life there is one thing she does miss about her life in the UK, her dogs George and Ollie.

Abigail isn’t the only person who lives on a cruise ship, Rachael Hudson plays Pixel in The Effectors II: Crash ‘n’ Burn on board Royal Caribbean’s Wonder Of the Seas. 

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I was a 90s pop star, I had six top 40 hits but only made £200 a week

This singer loves her home comforts when she’s living onboard a ship and has busy show days.

Meanwhile, another cruise ship performer has revealed she feels “blessed” that she gets paid to spend her days chilling by the pool and playing drinking games.

Abigail performs acrobatics for the evening performances


Abigail performs acrobatics for the evening performancesCredit: Royal Caribbean
Abigail encourages holidaymakers to check the weather forecast before they travel


Abigail encourages holidaymakers to check the weather forecast before they travelCredit: Handout

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UK business confidence increases for fifth month

Business confidence has increased for the fifth month in a row, according to a regular health-check by bosses’ lobby group the Institute of Directors.

The IoD’s “economic confidence index”, which surveys company directors on issues such as the wider economy and their own plans for hiring and investment, rose to -5 in April, up from -13 the previous month.

While the negative value still indicates that pessimism outweighs optimism among directors, it suggests a far brighter outlook than November 2022, when the index dropped to -64.

The measurement of directors’ outlook has now returned to levels last seen immediately before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, when it was a fraction more positive at -4.

“It is particularly reassuring to see a recovery in investment intentions, raising the hope that the economic fundamentals can continue to improve in the months ahead,” said Kitty Ussher, the IoD’s chief economist and former City minister under Labour.

While the improving survey data offers hope that UK economic growth may no longer be flatlining, Ussher acknowledged that concern about high inflation persists, with only a quarter of members believing it has peaked.

The proportion of directors who were either “quite optimistic” or “quite pessimistic” about the wider economy was almost identical at just under 31%.

The IoD survey chimes with responses to a quarterly survey by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) last month.

Continuing a more buoyant trend since the Truss/Kwarteng budget debacle last September, the BCC found that more than half of UK firms (52%) said their business turnover was likely to increase over the next 12 months, up from 44% in the last three months of 2022.

Business optimism can expect to come under pressure should the world’s leading central banks embark on a further increase in interest rates over the next fortnight, as expected.

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The Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve are forecast to push rates higher to bring down inflation. City analysts have predicted policymakers at the BoE will push the UK base rate up on 11 May from 4.25% to 4.5%.

The consensus outlook in the IoD survey suggests that inflation has either already peaked (25%) or will do so this year in either spring (11.9%), summer (19.7%) or autumn (14.2%).

However, a small proportion of the 949 survey respondents think inflation will not reach a peak until after summer 2024.

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Public survey leads to calls to control light

Participants were asked to report the number of stars they could see with the naked eye in the Orion constellation. The results nationally show that, for just over half the population, their view of the night sky remains obscured by severe light pollution.

Emma Marrington, landscape enhancement lead at CPRE, the countryside charity, said: “It’s great that so many people took part in Star Count this year. What is clear is that light pollution continues to affect people’s experience of the night sky. 

Jack Ellerby, Cumbria’s Dark Skies Officer at Friends of the Lake District, added: “CPRE’s star count gets people out after dark, making that connection with the wonder of the night sky, hopefully inspiring them to tackle light pollution.

“Unlike other forms of pollution that will take many decades to remove from our environment, such as plastics in the oceans or greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, by changing poor lighting we can all make an instant improvement.”



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The Memo: Culture war’s frontlines are drawn in

The biggest fights in the nation are increasingly being duked out in state legislatures.

On Thursday alone, abortion bans failed by a single vote in both South Carolina and Nebraska. The outcomes handed advocates for reproductive rights the latest in a growing list of victories, many of them chalked up in conservative states.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and his GOP colleagues in the legislature have taken a number of measures that have become national stories in themselves. 

The most infamous example is the bill passed last year that barred the teaching of sexuality or gender identity though the third grade in the Sunshine State — a bill that sparked a feud with Disney that is still intensifying more than a year later.

Disney sued DeSantis over what they termed “retaliatory” actions earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Nashville briefly became the nation’s political epicenter earlier this month, when two members of the Tennessee House were expelled because of their behavior while protesting for gun control measures. 

The controversy was given an extra edge because the two lawmakers expelled, Democratic state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, are both Black.

“The world is watching Tennessee,” Jones said in a speech just before his expulsion. “What you’re really putting on trial is the state of Tennessee. What you’re really showing for the world is holding up a mirror to a state that is going back to some dark, dark roots.” 

The furor even drew a hastily arranged visit from Vice President Harris. Jones and Pearson were ultimately reinstated.

There is no single cause for why states have become so central to the nation’s culture wars. It’s a product of an unusual confluence of factors.

The first and most obvious is the Supreme Court’s decision last June to strike down the constitutional right to abortion that had stood for almost half a century. The ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case gave states enormous leeway to make their own rules on abortion.

Thirteen states have banned abortion outright, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. An additional 13 states have bans that kick in somewhere between 6 weeks and 22 weeks of pregnancy.

But, on the other side of the political ledger, the liberal side won all five abortion-related ballot measures decided on the same day as last year’s midterm elections. They notched wins in deep red Montana and Kentucky as well as more left-leaning places like Vermont and California.

The attempt on Thursday by South Carolina Republicans to pass a strict abortion ban failed by one vote in a state former President Trump carried by 12 points in 2020.

South Carolina State Sen. Dick Harpootlian (D) told this column that the key difference was a handful of Republican members who, though themselves very conservative, “just said they are not going to support a bill that bans abortion.”

That position reflects fissures at the national level in the GOP, where many elected officials are adamantly anti-abortion but others, like another South Carolinian, Rep. Nancy Mace (R), have insisted the party needs to stake out “middle ground.”

Harpootlian, though relieved the abortion ban failed, noted that it’s hardly the end of the culture war issues in his state.

“We are going to have an open-carry gun bill, a Critical Race Theory bill,” he complained. “Republicans want to talk about these cultural issues, because the culture is different in Cambridge, Massachusetts from the culture in Swansea, South Carolina. They want to fight on those issues.”

Republicans would vigorously counter the implication of political chicanery, of course. They argue, first, that it is only right that states decide many of the most divisive hot-button issues for themselves. 

There has also been a concerted effort in conservative circles in recent years to take major national fights to a hyper-local level. 

Conservative parents have transformed school board elections, while Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon has advocated a “precinct strategy” to transform how elections are run.

But, as the abortion fights show, there is no reason to believe state-level fights necessarily favor conservatives over liberals or vice versa. Advocates of tighter gun controls, for instance, have made more progress at the state level than federally. 

Just within the past week, Democratic governors in Washington State and Colorado have signed gun control measures into law, while legislation has also moved forward in the Pennsylvania state House.

Experts say that, even if many of these debates are shaped by a climate of national polarization, they also serve a useful purpose.

“The states are supposed to be laboratories of democracy because they are closer to the people,” said Todd Belt, the director of the political management program at the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University. “They are supposed to experiment a bit. The federal government is there to be the guardrail.”

Belt also suggested the current plethora of state-level fights is, in part, a normal reaction to the frequent logjams in Washington

“State governments are taking it upon themselves to move in areas where they see the federal government is not — and that could be on anything from the environment to immigration to guns.”

About the only certainty is that there are many more fights to come.

The Memo is a reported column by Niall Stanage.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Revolutionary Music Therapy Helps Paralyzed Man

A patient who was left almost completely paralyzed from a rare disease is now walking and talking again, after a music therapist prescribed mindful listening to his favorite song every night—in this case, a tune by The Carpenters.

71 year-old Ian Palmer was struck down with Guillain-Barré syndrome last June, forcing him to spend seven months in a hospital where he was unable to walk or speak properly. The rare condition happens when a person’s own immune system attacks their body’s motor nerves, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.

“It selectively targets the motor nerve cells and you have to wait for them to regenerate—which in your 70s is quite worrying!”

“I was in intensive care, being suctioned 24 hours a day, as I couldn’t swallow, and this was leading to choking problems, and I had a nasogastric tube fitted for over four months.”

Ian’s speech was affected by the syndrome because it caused damage to his larynx, the tunnel in the back of the throat where air passes through to create sounds.

But when Ian was transferred to Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre, a state-of-the-art care unit in Lancashire, England, clinicians used music therapy techniques to overcome ‘near total paralysis of his body’.

His specialist, Clare, taught him mindfulness techniques using his favorite records—and he began listening to The Carpenters each night.

Ian Palmer with his music therapist, Clare – SWNS

Ian was admittedly skeptical, but he can now walk 2 miles a day (3k) and have conversations with his family after the exercises “opened up” his brain.

He’s never been very musical, so when Sue Ryder first suggested music therapy he said, ‘What good is that going to do?’

“I’m a typical Northern man, and I thought, ‘What’s a girl with a guitar going to do for me—get me to the gym.’”

“But it really worked. Clare sat me down and explained the process. I learned that music is very unlike other therapies, as it opens up all of the brain.”

She taught Ian to sing a long note using his diaphragm to assist.

“I told her, ‘I don’t even know where that is!’ But, she explained that by calling on the diaphragm, you’re training the brain so that it can use other muscles too.

“It learns the pathways and reopens them.”

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Clare also got Ian to practice mindfulness techniques, with some assistance from his favorite records.

“She wanted something I could relax to, and being of a certain age, The Carpenters was my choice. She asked me to do it before bed, and now I put The Carpenters on every night.

“She told me to push away the thoughts, and just focus on the music.

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Ian, who has since been discharged from the clinic, which also has locations around England and Scotland, said he was amazed at the difference music therapy had made to his experience.

“One of my goals was to walk through my front door. Now I can take my headphones and go for a walk doing my vocal exercises. There’s been such a positive impact.”

Using his diaphragm, he also learned how to breathe more effectively.

“My mum couldn’t understand me when she first came to visit. But now I’m confident that the music therapy I’ve received has more than dealt with it, and my voice has been able to join the rest of my body in recovering.”

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And there might not have been a better a song choice than We’ve Only Just Begun

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