Tom Brady is the most undervalued player in NFL draft history. There is no debate.
The New England Patriots selected Brady in the sixth round with the 199th overall pick in 2000, and all the University of Michigan product has done since is win six Super Bowl titles and establish himself as the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
But Brady isn’t the only player to be overlooked in the draft, only to turn around and enjoy an illustrious NFL career. And former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum can’t help but think of another Patriots star when looking back on players who far exceeded pre-draft expectations.
“I think a great lesson is Wes Welker, because Wes Welker is short, he’s slow, but he’s historic as it relates to a three-cone (drill),” Tannenbaum said over the weekend on ESPN’s “NFL Live” while discussing the NFL draft. “A three-cone is a drill that assesses shorter or quickness in change of direction, and was a great lesson from a scouting standpoint to know that ‘Hey, just because you can’t run fast or you don’t have the right height, if you have a dominant attribute, you can become a very productive player.’ So for me, it would be Wes Welker.”
Welker went undrafted in 2004. He later signed with the San Diego Chargers and then landed with the Miami Dolphins after being released, but the wide receiver really made a name for himself in New England, earning five Pro Bowl selections in six seasons as one of Brady’s favorite targets.
Of course, Brady can make a lot of guys look good on the gridiron, but Welker’s surprising success with the Patriots was a testament to his hard work and perhaps some oversight on the part of other general managers across the NFL. Bill Belichick clearly saw something in Welker, and it worked out well for both the player and the organization, even though the Patriots never won a Super Bowl with the diminutive receiver on the roster.