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The New York Giants could have drafted Tom Brady - if only they'd listened to a scout

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When New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was in college at Michigan, he wasn't on many NFL teams' radars at all, as his numbers simply gave no insight into the player he'd eventually become.

In fact, many teams didn't have the future five-time Super Bowl champion on their NFL Draft lists at all, passing over him repeatedly until the Patriots chose him in the sixth round of the 2000 draft with the 199th overall pick.

However, one team had a scout who really loved Brady, and repeatedly brought up the Michigan quarterback's name to no avail in the draft room.

According to ESPN.com, the New York Giants had a scout named Whitey Walsh who lobbied hard for Brady, only to get overruled in the draft room:

"But I always thought you should look at any senior who is starting; maybe they have something," Walsh said. "You watch four, five, six plays, and if they don't show anything you leave them off the list. I watched Brady, and he was actually pretty good. He was very careful with his passes, very accurate, no interceptions. I wondered if his arm would be strong enough. If you saw him -- and he was listed that day at 6-foot-5, 195 pounds -- he didn't look good. He looked kind of emaciated, with no muscle definition.

"I put him on the list and figured, it can't hurt. Let's give him a grade and at least we can talk about him. Turns out nobody else [with the Giants] had his name down. I gave Brady a middle-to-late-round grade, and when I was in the draft room I guess I got drowned out. Whoever heard of Tom Brady?"

Instead, the Giants selected linebacker Dhani Jones - Brady's Michigan teammate - and watched as the Patriots called Brady's name 22 picks later.

Ernie Accorsi, who was the Giants' general manager at the time, said he takes full responsibility for missing out on the legend by not listening to Walsh's passionate pleas:

"He didn't just bring it up," Accorsi said. "He was very forceful. Fought hard. No one listened. ... It's my fault that I didn't act on his urging to draft Brady.

"Truly, the Brady story is one of the great mysteries of all time. It's not like he was playing at Augustana. He threw four touchdown passes in the Orange Bowl against Alabama. ... We were all asleep."

New England Patriots v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fortunately for the Giants, things worked out in the end, as they landed Eli Manning in the 2004 NFL Draft. Manning, ironically, led the Giants to two Super Bowl wins - both over Brady and the Patriots.

Still, it's fair to wonder what could have been if the Giants had listened to Walsh all those years ago.

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Topics:
NFL
New England Patriots
NFL Playoffs
Eli Manning
New York Giants
NFL Draft
Tom Brady

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