A lot of teams passed on drafting Tom Brady.
There were 198 chances to draft the quarterback who might go down as the greatest of all-time before the New England Patriots drafted Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.
Most teams didn’t even have Brady on their radar prior to the draft, but one scout for the New York Giants begged his general manager to take the Michigan QB.
Whitey Walsh was a longtime Giants scout who traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich., to scout a number of players, including Brady’s backup Drew Henson. But Brady wasn’t on his list of players to scout.
Walsh, however, took the initiative and decided to look at Brady as well.
“But I always thought you should look at any senior who is starting; maybe they have something,” Walsh told ESPN’s Ian O’Connor. “You watch four, five, six plays, and if they don’t show anything you leave them off the list. I watched Brady, and he was actually pretty good. He was very careful with his passes, very accurate, no interceptions. I wondered if his arm would be strong enough.
“I put him on the list,” Walsh said, “and figured, it can’t hurt. Let’s give him a grade and at least we can talk about him. Turns out nobody else (with the Giants) had his name down. I gave Brady a middle-to-late-round grade, and when I was in the draft room I guess I got drowned out. Whoever heard of Tom Brady?”
When the Giants’ turn to pick in the sixth round came up, Walsh fought hard for Brady, but New York ultimately chose linebacker Dhani Jones.
The Giants general manager at the time, Ernie Accorsi, knows he should have listened to his longtime scout.
“He didn’t just bring it up,” Accorsi said. “He was very forceful. Fought hard. No one listened. … It’s my fault that I didn’t act on his urging to draft Brady.”
Accorsi would grab a franchise signal-caller in 2004 when he acquired Eli Manning in a draft-day trade with the San Diego Chargers.
Things worked out for both franchises, as Manning would beat Brady in two Super Bowls, while TB12 crafted a career worthy of being called the GOAT.
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