The NFL Draft is far from an exact science. So I set out to determine how the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, could have been so thoroughly overlooked and underrated, as 198 players were selected ahead of him, including six fellow signal-callers.
It turns out that several factors contributed to Tom Brady draft pick: his horrendous performance at the scouting combine, his emaciated appearance, and underdeveloped physique, and the reluctance of Univ. of Michigan’s head football coach, Lloyd Carr, to embrace Brady as the starting quarterback.
But let’s not kid ourselves. Perhaps his showing at the combine dropped Brady from a third or fourth-round pick to a sixth-round selection, but nobody viewed him as a top NFL prospect.
Let’s delve into how scouts and talent evaluators made the most egregious error in player evaluation.
- As a sixth-round draft pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, nobody ever expected much from Tom Brady.
- Brady went from sixth-round draft pick to the greatest quarterback of all time, owning every significant passing record. He has proven himself as the ultimate winner, with seven Super Bowl victories in ten Super Bowl appearances. Oh, and he has been named Super Bowl MVP on five occasions.
- Brady knew that one’s physical gifts, which he possessed few, were only one ingredient in the recipe for success. His irrevocable self-belief and refusal to be outworked powered his unlikely dominance in a league full of physical marvels.
What Draft Pick Was Tom Brady and Why Was He Drafted so Low?
The New England Patriots selected Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.
Brady was the 199th selection overall and the seventh quarterback taken in the draft.
As exemplified by one of the most iconic NFL Combine photos (above), Brady did not possess prototypical quarterback size, strength, or speed.
For example, one scout wrote the following about Brady, “Awful. He’s not even on my board. Weak. He’ll make somebody a good husband or a good medical salesman.” Another QB coach said, “Backup. Could be a No. 2 in this league for a long time. Has the size but not enough arm.” 
Brady also did not possess great speed. For example, at the 2000 NFL Combine, Brady ran the 40-yard dash in 5.28 seconds. So just how poorly did Brady run? Brady’s time is the second slowest recorded of all the quarterbacks clocked in the 40-yard dash between 2000 and 2021. 
Brady’s abysmal performance at the 2000 NFL Combine earned him a below grade: 
Finally, while Brady started at quarterback for Michigan throughout his junior season, head coach Lloyd Carr was hesitant to name Brady the starter early in his senior year. Carr wanted highly recruited sophomore Drew Henson to win the job and only reluctantly acquiesced due to Brady’s solid play. Carr’s hesitance to commit to Brady scared off most NFL teams. 
What Did Teams Overlook About Tom Brady?
The consensus draft evaluation of Tom Brady is best exemplified by one scout’s conclusion:
Lacks mobility and the ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can’t drive the ball down the field. Does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if forced to ad-lib.
Although this was not an inaccurate appraisal, it was far from complete.
While one can measure all the physical tools a player possesses, one’s heart and insatiable desire to be great is much less quantifiable.
Even after sitting for hours at the draft waiting to hear his name called, Brady swore he would make the other thirty-one teams regret passing on him. One might imagine that Brady’s confidence would take a hit after watching nearly 200 players be selected before he was. However, quite the contrary. Brady’s steely resolve is one of the traits that would lead him to greatness.
Brady was a tireless worker who acknowledged his physical deficiencies and dedicated himself to inconceivable levels of preparation, aware that he was not talented enough to ad-lib on game day.
For Brady, game day was just a minuscule part of the week. By the time Sunday arrived, Brady’s relentless, all-consuming preparation had enabled him to read and react more quickly than all others, effectively compensating for his physical liabilities.
To the average fan, the highlights are extremely misleading. Despite repeatedly carving up defenses in a seemingly effortless manner, the reality was that Brady had rehearsed every throw, every movement, and every decision made on the gridiron hundreds of times .
Brady Vs the Six QBs Drafted Before Him in 2000
The chart above lists the six quarterbacks selected before Tom Brady in the 2000 NFL Draft. They are referred to as ‘The Brady 6.’
The best way to illustrate the magnitude of Brady’s career relative to his draft position is to compare his career to the combined careers of the six quarterbacks drafted in front of him.
Read more: How Does the NFL Draft Work?
Including only regular season numbers, ‘The Brady 6’ have 89 combined victories, while Brady possesses 248. Furthermore, Brady has passed for 636 TDs, while ‘The Brady 6’ have thrown for 246 TDs combined. Lastly, Brady has thrown for 87,325 yards, while ‘The Brady 6’ have thrown for a combined total of 44,470 yards. 
Why Is Tom Brady the G.O.A.T.?
Tom Brady will enter the annals as the greatest quarterback of all time and one of the greatest NFL players.
Brady is the NFL career leader in passes completed, passing yards, passing TDs, and virtually every other statistic imaginable. He has won three league MVPs and has been selected to a record 15 Pro Bowls. He holds the record for most Super Bowl appearances, Super Bowl victories , and Super Bowl MVPs[7, 8]
Football is considered the ultimate team game, and, as a result, the most important statistic is Super Bowl victories. As indicated above, Brady laps the field with seven Lombardi Trophies. At a distant second place are Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, with four Super Bowl victories apiece. 
In fact, Tom Brady owns more Super Bowl victories than any other franchise – a remarkable achievement! 
I can confidently state that there will never be another Tom Brady. Brady is the winningest player in NFL history, and his consistency, longevity, and success are unparalleled. Father Time is undefeated; however, Brady still performs brilliantly at 45. As he continues to rewrite the record books, he has rendered Father Time irrelevant, at least for now.