History Lesson : Tom Brady’s Draft Story

It's easy to think that Tom Brady was drafted first overall to much fanfare, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Come learn the full story today!

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We’ve focused primarily on ancient history in these posts so far, but today we’re going back to fairly recent history.

Do you know who Tom Brady is? OF COURSE you do! Even if you don’t know a single thing about football and stumbled on this website completely by accident and are looking to leave as soon as possible (but don’t! stick around!), you know who Tom Brady is. That’s because Tom Brady will be remembered as one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best quarterback, in NFL History. He transcends football; he’s living legend.

(Hyperbole hyperbole hyperbole.)

(But…truth truth truth.)

What you may not know about Tom Brady is that he did not get drafted #1 overall. Not #2 or #3, either. Tom Brady waited through 6 rounds to be drafted after 6 other quarterbacks and 198 other players. He was draft 199th overall by the Patriots, despite his lackluster scouting report:

Tom Brady Positives: Good height to see the field. Very poised and composed. Smart and alert. Can read coverages. Good accuracy and touch. Produces in big spots and in big games. Has some Brian Griese in him and is a gamer. Generally plays within himself. Team leader.

Negatives: Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Ended the ’99 season weighing 195 pounds and still looks like a rail at 211. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you’d like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can’t drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own.

Summary: Is not what you’re looking for in terms of physical stature, strength, arm strength and mobility, but he has the intangibles and production and showed great Griese-like improvement as a senior. Could make it in the right system but will not be for everyone. 

I love that. LOVE that. Tom Brady has since proved nearly every negative wrong. (I say nearly only because homeboy is never going to be mobile. He can leave that to Colin Kaepernick and call it a day.) Was the scouting report wrong? Or did Tom Brady just work that much harder than everyone else? Probably both – but definitely the latter. He started his first season as the 4th quarterback on the depth chart. By season’s end, he was second and in the following season, he started a few games after starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured. He wasn’t spectacular right off the bat. But he did enough so that the Patriots never looked back; he’s been their starter ever since.

And he’s only led the team to 5 Super Bowls and won 3 of them. No big deal.

One of my favorite documentaries ESPN has ever done was The Brady 6, the story of the 6 quarterbacks taken before Tom Brady in the 2000 Draft. Here’s a peek into what he went through on Draft Day:

I just love his story. I can’t get enough of it. Anyone who has ever been told that you aren’t good enough, aren’t the right fit, won’t ever make it (ahem…Tim Tebow): take note. It’s possible.

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