It’s now in prime time, but that wasn’t always the case. For many years, the NFL Draft’s first three rounds were on a Saturday and the last four on Sunday. Two long days.
When Tom Brady’s name was called back in 2000, it was later on Sunday when few people were watching. He was famously selected in the sixth round with the 199th pick. There is no photo op for the 199th pick. Brady never posed for a photo with a No. 6 jersey to represent his draft round. He is proof that Draft gems can be mined deep into the process.
Julian Edelman was selected even further down the board. Seventh round. Pick No. 232. No pomp, yet, like Brady, he turned out ok.
It’s the No. 1s that get the attention, though. So while Tom Brady’s enlarged Draft card is on display in The Hall’s temporary exhibit, it is the No. 1 jerseys handed to Richard Seymour, Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty, Nate Solder, Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Dominique Easley, Malcolm Brown and Cyrus Jones that dominate the display.
“It’s always a fun practice to go back and recall those first round picks as well as the late-round hits,” Hall executive director Bryan Morry said. “The Patriots, like every team, have their hits and misses throughout the Draft, but one thing to note over the years is that it doesn’t matter where a player is drafted or if he drafted because Coach Belichick has found players early, late and even in with undrafted free agents like Malcolm Butler or Randall Gay.”
So who will be this year’s No. 1? The Patriots are currently slated to pick twice in the first round – 23rd and 31st – and The Hall display even allows the guest to make their first pick. Of course, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been known to swing a few Draft day trades so there remains a decent chance the Patriots don’t pick at 23.
The Draft display also allows guests to examine a mockup of the team’s player rating cards.
“It’s pretty interesting to see what information is up on the Draft board,” Morry said. “There is an overall grade and some obvious information, but also other information like a 40 time and whether it was verified, hand-timed or run indoors. So that little card can include some important details.”
The Hall’s Draft display will be through May and, if the Patriots make a first round pick on April 26, it will include the newest No. 1 jersey. So who will it be? Stop by The Hall to get on the record with your guess.