As the legend of Tom Brady somehow continues to grow, plenty of people have tried to say they saw it coming. Few, including the Patriots (who eventually took him in round six), did.
And so it’s refreshing when someone who was in the business of evaluating players at the time Brady emerged from Michigan admits to getting it wrong.
Former Packers G.M. Ron Wolf has done just that, in comments to Bob McGinn of TheAthletic.com. McGinn looks back at the input he received on scouts regarding Brady prior to the 2000 draft, as supplemented by more recent comments from folks like Wolf.
Wolf, whose Packers had Brett Favre, Matt Hasselbeck, and Aaron Brooks at the time, had a habit of drafting quarterbacks in most years of the draft. But Wolf passed on Brady, multiple times.
“Sh-t, yeah, I would have [taken Brady],” Wolf admitted to McGinn. “Had I known this guy was who he was. . . .”
Unlike fellow Hall of Famer Bill Polian, who has claimed that he had a first-round grade on Brady, Wolf doesn’t try to sugarcoat the fact that he, like so many others, stepped in the first word from his quote to McGinn.
“We kind of deviated just a tad from our normal procedure,” Wolf said regarding the 2000 draft. “You know, whenever one changes something, it jumps up and bites you in the ass. I still think about that. It’s one of those things, you’re never too old to learn. I’m not sure why I didn’t nip it in the bud.”
Wolf didn’t see Brady play in person, and he relied on three of his scouts. All of them said no to Brady.
“I just know that we really just did a terrible job as an organization on Tom Brady,” Wolf told McGinn. “It was a joke, the reports we had on him. A disgrace. We had three reports, and three guys said he couldn’t play. We could talk about this for five hours. Whatever they said was completely wrong. . . .
“I don’t know how you could go to a Big Ten school like that and watch a guy play and his career as it unfolded and think he couldn’t play. You say to yourself, ‘I’ll never listen to this [bleep] again the rest of my life.'” (And, yes, the first dropping of the ‘S’ bomb made it past the censors at TheAthletic.com, but the second one didn’t.)
An unnamed personnel executive responded to Wolf’s observations with this: “Easy to blame the scouts, but the general consensus was that Tom was a free agent.”
Even if Wolf is blaming the scouts, Wolf hired them. It was his operation. If his scouts failed to spot Brady as a potentially great player, then Wolf failed to spot Brady as a potentially great player. Like everyone else did.
Except for Polian, of course.