Think of the biggest draft steal in history, and chances are you will think of Tom Brady. His sixth-round 199 overall pick has become the stuff of legends.
Everyone underestimated Tom Brady coming out of college in Michigan. Neither did he have a particularly strong arm, nor was he famed for his mobility. But Brady's game intelligence, pocket presence and accuracy caught the eye of various scouts and front office managers.
If only the hierarchy had listened and drafted Tom Brady, the course of history might have been much more different. We present here a list of all the teams who had a chance to take Tom Brady but rejected it in the hope of drafting someone better.
NFC teams that almost drafted Tom Brady
#1 - New York Giants
The push to draft Tom Brady with the 177th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft came from Raymond Walsh Jr., who was a scout with the New York Giants. In fact, Walsh Jr. had made his case to management in the fourth round itself when the Giants had the 105th pick in the draft. But when Brady was not taken until the sixth round, Walsh Jr. again implored the Giants to draft Brady as quarterback without risking too much draft capital. The scout saw two parameters with Tom Brady that impressed him the most: his accuracy on throws and his calmness in the pocket; both vital qualities any elite quarterback must have.
But the New York Giants had no immediate need to fill in at the quarterback position, having made it to the Super Bowl with Kerry Collins. They passed on the opportunity to have Tom Brady on their roster with an eye on the future.
#2 - San Francisco 49ers
Tom Brady grew up watching and admiring the San Francisco 49ers, and they had a chance to go ahead and sign him. He was one of around 50 players who were invited to the local pro combine. He tried out in front of the 49ers, threw eight or nine times and was judged on his 40-yard dash.
Instead of checking on his athleticism, the San Francisco 49ers should have taken the time to learn more about him and what made him tick. Maybe they would have checked for his poise and accuracy under pressure instead. Then-coach Steve Mariucci admitted as much.