Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in New England Patriots history and arguably the best the NFL has ever seen, but the Patriots President says a less-than-impressive athleticism would still keep Brady from being drafted high if he were coming out of college today.
Speaking this week in a panel discussion, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said that with today’s focus on combine times, Brady would still be a late round draft pick. Back in 2000 Brady was passed over by all NFL teams six times before the Patriots finally took him with the 199th overall pick in round six.
Though he is regarded as one of the smartest quarterbacks on the field, with quick decision making to go along with a strong arm, Brady did not blow anyone away with his athleticism, Kraft recalled.
“I betcha for a lot of people because Tom ran a 5.2 or 5.3 [40-yard dash] and didn’t appear that athletic, he would be off the board. I think his coachability and his passion for the game and his record as a starter — when he starts, he wins — I think that might even carry more weight other places,” Kraft said.
Kraft said Brady’s resume would justify the No. 1 overall pick today, but going on his college resume and combine times alone the Michigan quarterback stil wouldn’t be a first, second, or even third round pick today, Kraft added.
But the Patriots saw past that. Even though the Patriots had Drew Bledsoe as a franchise quarterback at the time, one who had just led them to the Super Bowl two seasons before, coach Bill Belichick saw a lot of potential in Tom Brady.
“It was Bill’s first draft and we had a lot of needs. Brady was rated pretty highly on the board and in the fifth round — we took Brady in the sixth — Bill walked over to the board and picked up Brady’s card, looked at [Scott Pioli], and said ‘what’s Brady still doing here? There’s too much value to be sitting here. This kid’s a winner.’ “
The Patriots guessed right on Tom Brady, and 30 other teams are likely still kicking themselves for not seeing it.