New Orleans Saints: Why they chose another QB over Tom Brady

The 2000 NFL Draft is mostly remembered for one name in particular: Tom Brady. And, he could’ve easily been the New Orleans Saints quarterback.

The 22-year old quarterback out of Michigan was the seventh one taken that year, and the New England Patriots snagged him with the 199th overall pick. To be fair, the New Orleans Saints have been just fine, but they passed up on the quarterback many consider the best of all-time.

That sixth-round selection drives Brady to this day to prove all the doubters wrong, and six Super Bowl titles later, he’s established himself as the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

But the New Orleans Saints had a chance to pick him in the sixth round, as did every other team in earlier rounds, but they selected a quarterback with the 168th overall pick from West Virginia named Marc Bulger.

At West Virginia, Bulger played from 1997-1999 and threw for a combined 7,444 yards, 54 touchdowns, and 32 interceptions, with his completion percentage average during those three years a modest 61.6 percent.

The Mountaineers lost the Carquest Bowl in 1997 and Insight.com Bowl in 1998, and followed up with a 4-7 record in 1999.

The Saints were coming off a 3-13 season in 1999 and had fired head coach Mike Ditka after three seasons at the helm, one year after he traded an entire draft-stock of picks for Texas running back and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams.

New Orleans had four quarterbacks on the roster in 1999, but only kept one of them, Jake Delhomme and released Danny Wuerffel and Billy Joe Hobert and Tolliver.

In 2000, the Saints hired Jim Haslett to be their new head coach, acquired Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jeff Blake in free agency and traded for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Brooks.

After selecting Bulger, he remained in New Orleans until the Saints traded him to the Atlanta Falcons in training camp.

He eventually landed with the St. Louis Rams in the middle of their “Greatest Show on Turf” hey-day and started in 2002 when Kurt Warner hurt his finger and Jamie Martin got injured as well.

In St. Louis, Bulger made two Pro Bowls and became the fastest player to reach 1,000 completions in NFL history. He was a backup quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens in 2010 and retired after one season with the Ravens.

Bulger’s career statistics were 22,814 yards, 122 touchdowns and 93 interceptions with a 62.1 percent completion percentage.

All 31 NFL teams besides the Patriots regret passing on Tom Brady, but it’s still mind-boggling to figure out why some teams went with other quarterbacks like Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman and Spergon Wynn instead of Brady.

Next: Top 30 players in New Orleans Saints’ history

It also shows how the NFL Draft involves a plethora of research and luck combined together to either see Hall of Famers, Pro Bowlers, average Joe’s or failures at the quarterback position.

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