NFL

Tom Brady: Recalling the NFL draft's great steals 20 years after Pats took QB

By Sports Desk April 16, 2020

Twenty years ago the New England Patriots did what was tantamount to robbery.

With the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, New England selected Tom Brady, quarterback from the University of Michigan.

The rest is history. Six Super Bowl wins, nine AFC titles. It was a draft pick that altered the entire NFL, and it was all the more remarkable because sixth-round selections usually face a fight just to make the team.

However, sometimes players, like Brady, slip through the cracks in the draft process and a late-round diamond can be unearthed.

On the 20th anniversary of Brady's selection, we look at some of the best late-round picks in recent memory.

 

JULIAN EDELMAN - SEVENTH ROUND, 2009

Turns out the Patriots are good at this drafting lark and Brady is not the only late-round gem they have found.

Bill Belichick went to Kent State in 2009 to work out their quarterback Edelman, who had never run routes or caught passes before.

Edelman's pure potential intrigued Belichick, though, and he proved a shrewd seventh-round selection, initially as a punt returner and later as a wideout.

Brady's favourite target in his last few years in New England was instrumental in their Super Bowl LIII win, being named the game's MVP after making 10 catches for 141 yards.

 

KAM CHANCELLOR - FIFTH ROUND, 2010

Chancellor changed positions three times in four years in college and the Seattle Seahawks had already drafted one safety in first-rounder Earl Thomas when they selected the bruising Virginia Tech defensive back in the fifth.

The two would go on to form the heart of the 'Legion of Boom', one of the greatest defensive backfields of all time and a key reason why Seattle made two Super Bowls in back-to-back seasons.

Chancellor only spent eight seasons in the league and retired at 30 due to a neck injury, but the tone-setter of that great Seattle D was voted to four Pro Bowls.

 

ANTONIO BROWN - SIXTH ROUND, 2010

Brown wears the number 84 because 8 x 4 = 32 and 32 teams ignored him until the Pittsburgh Steelers grabbed the former Central Michigan receiver with the 195th overall pick a decade ago.

The pre-draft reports suggested he was slow, lacked size, had character concerns and didn't play elite competition in college.

Brown has since amassed 11,263 receiving yards and 75 touchdowns and was arguably the NFL's best receiver of the 2010s.

He remains out of the league today, though, with those character concerns rearing their head and ending short spells with the Oakland Raiders and Patriots last season.

 

RICHARD SHERMAN - FIFTH ROUND, 2011

The year after selecting Thomas and Chancellor, Seattle drafted K.J. Wright in the fourth round and cornerback Sherman in the fifth in another impressive haul.

Sherman, who started life at Stanford as a wide receiver before converting to corner, was the 34th defensive back selected in 2011, which made him "livid" and provided a sizeable chip for his shoulder.

Since then? Just the five Pro Bowls, three first-team All-Pros, one Super Bowl ring (and another two appearances) and a spot on the NFL's All-Decade team of the 2010s.

 

GEORGE KITTLE - FIFTH ROUND, 2017

Do-it-all tight ends who are mismatch nightmares have been en vogue ever since Rob Gronkowski took the NFL by storm, and yet everyone passed on Kittle until the San Francisco 49ers wrote down his name for the 146th pick.

In his best season at Iowa, Kittle had 314 receiving yards. Last year he had his second straight 1,000-yard receiving season in the NFL having broken the record for tight ends with 1,377 yards in 2018.

Thanks to Kittle, Iowa tight ends are being taken more seriously too as T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant were both drafted in the first round last year.

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    San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle will miss his second successive game because of a knee injury.

    Kittle missed out on the Niners' 31-13 win over the New York Jets in Week 2 and will not feature in Week 3 as they return to MetLife Stadium to face the New York Giants.

    The All-Pro suffered a knee sprain and bone bruise in the Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

    He had been considered a game-time decision for the Giants clash, however, coach Kyle Shanahan elected to leave Kittle out after a discussion ahead of Friday's practice in West Virginia, where the 49ers have based themselves for the successive New York trips.

    "We thought it was a lot safer to rule him out," Shanahan said in a media conference.

    The 49ers are still favoured to beat the 0-2 Giants and will have to do so with backup quarterback Nick Mullens playing under center.

    Mullens will start in place of Jimmy Garoppolo, who suffered a high-ankle sprain in a win over the Jets that also saw them lose defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas to torn anterior cruciate ligaments, while running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman sustained knee injuries of their own.

    Kittle broke out in the 2018 season as he set the record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a single campaign, with 1,377 in a year in which Mullens played eight games due to a torn ACL suffered by Garoppolo.

    He posted 1,053 yards in 14 regular-season games last season. Jordan Reed, who scored two touchdowns against the Jets, is again likely to see a heavy workload in Kittle's absence.

  • Garoppolo out for Week 3, Mullens to start for 49ers v Giants Garoppolo out for Week 3, Mullens to start for 49ers v Giants

    Jimmy Garoppolo will miss the San Francisco 49ers' clash with the New York Giants on Sunday because of a right high ankle sprain, with Nick Mullens starting in his place at quarterback.

    Head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Mullens would play in an interview with KNBR on Friday.

    Garoppolo was one of a host of 49ers to sustain injuries in their Week 2 win over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, where the Niners will face the 0-2 Giants.

    Defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas were each lost for the year to torn anterior cruciate ligaments while running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman sustained knee injuries that will keep them out against the Giants.

    Star tight end George Kittle, who suffered a sprained knee and a bone bruise in the Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, will play only if there is no hesitation from himself or the team's medical staff, Shanahan said.

    Garoppolo completed 14 of his 16 pass attempts for 131 yards and two touchdowns in the first half against the Jets before Mullens replaced him in the second half.

    An undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi, Mullens started eight games of a 2018 season that saw Garoppolo tear his ACL in Week 3.

    Mullens went 3-5 as a starter, completing 64.2 percent of his passes for 2,277 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

     

  • Stats Perform's NFL Friday Facts: MVPs Mahomes and Jackson do battle on MNF Stats Perform's NFL Friday Facts: MVPs Mahomes and Jackson do battle on MNF

    Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson will do battle on Monday Night Football in Week 3 as the Kansas City Chiefs face the Baltimore Ravens.

    Mahomes, the Super Bowl LIV MVP and 2018 season NFL MVP, and fellow quarterback Jackson, the 2019 season's NFL MVP, will hope to get the W that moves their team to 3-0.

    That clash, one of a number of enticing Week 3 matchups, will provide an early indication of which franchise might be in the best shape to be the AFC's Super Bowl LV representative too.

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    FEATURE GAME

    Chiefs at Ravens - Monday, 8.15pm (All times Eastern)

    - There have been 13 games featuring the reigning and previous NFL MVPs starting against each other at the quarterback position (including playoffs). The reigning MVP has led his team to victory in eight of the last 10 such matchups, and is 8-5 overall.

    - Mahomes hooked up with Tyreek Hill for a 54-yard touchdown in the win over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2. That was Mahomes' 11th career touchdown pass of 50-plus yards (most in the NFL since 2018). The Ravens as a team have only had nine such touchdowns since 2015, four coming from the arm of Jackson.

    - The Chiefs are 6-3 against the Ravens, including wins in each of the three most recent matchups and they have a 4-1 record in Baltimore.

    OTHER KEY GAMES

    Texans at Steelers - Sunday, 1pm

    - The Steelers are 2-0 for the seventh time since 2000. They made the playoffs in each of the previous six seasons, reaching three Super Bowls and winning two titles. Pittsburgh's last 3-0 start was in 2010, when the Steelers made their last trip to the Super Bowl.

    Raiders at Patriots - Sunday, 1pm

    - New England are tied for ninth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (142.0) and are eighth in passing offense (268.5 yards per game). They are one of three teams in the league's top 10 in both categories, joining the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams. In Sunday's loss at the Seattle Seahawks, Cam Newton passed for 397 yards, including 312 in the second half.

    Rams at Bills - Sunday, 1pm

    - Buffalo are attempting to start 3-0 for a second straight season, a feat they have accomplished only twice previously in franchise history (1964-65, 1991-92). The Bills have won 10 straight games since December 2018 when scoring 20 or more points, the longest active streak in the NFL. 

    Cowboys at Seahawks - Sunday, 4.15pm 

    - Dak Prescott enters this weekend with 99 career touchdown passes in 66 career games. With another touchdown pass on Sunday, Prescott would be the fastest Cowboy to reach 100 TD passes – Tony Romo currently holds the record at 79 games.

    Packers at Saints - Sunday, 8.20pm

    - Since 2018, Davante Adams - who could miss this game through injury - has accounted for 27.8 per cent of Green Bay's receiving yards, the fifth-highest mark in the NFL. The player with the highest percentage during this span is Saints star Michael Thomas (34.5 per cent), who is out this week with an ankle injury.

    ELSEWHERE...

    Titans at Vikings - Sunday, 1pm

    - Ryan Tannehill threw for four touchdowns and no interceptions in the win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, extending his streak of regular season games with multiple touchdown passes to a franchise-record nine games. Tannehill has a 118.1 passer rating since joining Tennessee in 2019, the best mark in the NFL over that span (minimum 250 attempts).

    Buccaneers at Broncos - Sunday, 4.25pm

    - Melvin Gordon has tallied 148 rushing yards on 34 attempts this season, 124 more than the Broncos' next-leading rusher (Phillip Lindsay, 24). Gordon also has five receptions and has accounted for 41.9 per cent of the Broncos' touches this season, fifth highest in the NFL.

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