Mariucci: Why 49ers passed on Brady and lessons NFL learned

Former coach Steve Mariucci revisits the 2000 draft when the San Francisco 49ers ... and everyone else but New England ... passed on Tom Brady and the lessons all teams today should learn from that experience.

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There are a slew of accomplished quarterbacks in this month's NFL draft, with five ... possibly six ... going in the first round. But they're not necessarily the guys who could lead you to the next Super Bowl, and nobody knows that better than NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci.

He was the head coach with the San Francisco 49ers in 2000 when the team passed on then-Michigan quarterback Tom Brady -- who grew up in San Mateo, had his heart set on going to the 49ers and worked out for Mariucci and his staff prior to the draft at the team's Santa Clara complex.

With Hall-of-Famer Steve Young announcing his retirement that summer, the 49ers needed a quarterback to groom, and they had a raft of draft picks to choose one. As it turned out, they chose two -- Gio Carmazzi in the third round and Tim Rattay in the seventh -- with Brady passing everyone until New England rescued him with the 199th pick in the sixth round.

The rest, of course, you know.

What you might not, however, is why Brady never really was on the 49ers' radar, and there's not only a legitimate reason but a lesson for all teams today to follow ... and Mariucci was only too willing to explain on the latest Talk of Fame Network podcast.

"I think all teams, including the Patriots themselves, say 'Why didn't we draft this quarterback sooner?' " he said, "But we didn't draft him because ... you'd have to know the style of offense that were playing in San Francisco -- with an athletic-type of quarterback for that West Coast offense to get Steve Young on movements and keeps and have him out of the pocket.

"And we drafted, if you remember, Jim Druckenmiller. But he was a dropback quarterback that we drafted in the first round a couple years earlier (1997) and basically didn't fit the mold of the style of play that we wanted to have. So, after that didn't work out, we were pretty committed to saying, 'Hey, we want to continue with this type of offensive scheme.'

"We wanted a mobile quarterback that we could move around ... Steve Young wasn't very big ... and then, of course, the guy that eventually replaced him, Jeff Garcia, wasn't very big. But they were mobile guys that would throw the ball from different launch points right and left, with boots and keeps and what not."

Brady, of course, was none of that. He was big (6-feet-4) and he wasn't mobile. He didn't throw on the run and had just completed an NFL combine where he was remarkably unremarkable, producing the slowest 40 ever for quarterbacks (5.28 seconds).

"Really, what we saw at the combine we saw at our local combine," said Mariucci. "He wasn't very fast. He wasn't very muscular or athletic. He didn't throw the ball much differently than anybody else. So, while he didn't fit the category of quarterback we wanted, he was not really considered for our draft board because he didn't fit the profile we were looking for. It was that simple."

But it is not that simple. The 49ers and 30 others passed on the next Joe Montana, while New England did not. There was something there that everyone missed until New England took a flyer on Brady, and Mariucci knows exactly what it was. To hear him elaborate, just connect to the following link: