Detroit Lions Steal Lombardi Trophy
Although the NFL Combine was not formed until 1982, NFL scouts still evaluated potential draftees through the use of combines in 1979.
Candidates were rated in a number of categories on a scale of one to nine, with one being the worst mark and nine being the best mark. The categories they used were contingent on the position that the athlete played.
Despite his performance on the field, Montana was not rated highly by most scouts. At one combine, Montana rated out as six-and-a-half overall with a six in arm strength, used to judge how hard and how far a prospect could throw the ball.
By comparison, Jack Thompson of Washington State rated an eight, the highest grade among eligible quarterbacks.
Before the 1979 draft, one scouting combine rated Montana a 6½ (out of 9). The report said:
"He can thread the needle, but usually goes with his primary receiver and forces the ball to him even when he's in a crowd. He's a gutty, gambling, cocky type. Doesn't have great tools, but could eventually start."
In the 1979 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected Montana at the end of the third round with the 82nd overall pick. Montana was the fourth quarterback taken, behind Thompson, Phil Simms, and Steve Fuller, all selected in the first round.
New 49ers coach Bill Walsh ignored the negative scouting reports on his rookie signal caller ("average" arm strength, no touch), and envisioned Montana as the orchestrator of his complex ball-control passing attack:
"Joe's ….an excellent spontaneous thinker, a keen-witted athlete with a unique field of vision. And he will not choke. Or rather, if he ever does, you'll know that everyone else has come apart first."
According to David Harris in "The Genius", Sam Wyche, the 'Niners new scouting director at the time was essentially the man who found Montana. He had ranked the Golden Domer "as the best quarterback in the entire draft but non of his scouts agreed."
Wyche was sent to check out Joe as part of the trip to see James Owens. "Joe was staying with his girlfriend down in Manhattan Beach in Southern California and Owens was at UCLA.
Walsh wanted to know if Owens could catch the ball, so Sam called Joe and asked him to come over and throw passes to him...When Wyche returned to the Bay Area he told Bill that he'd better take a look at this guy Montana. He just might be the one."
In search for another QB target, Walsh worked out Clemson's Steve Fuller, which incidentally allowed for the team to discover and draft Dwight Clark in the 10th round.
According to both books, Walsh came away very unimpressed with Steve Fuller after that tryout.
Glenn Dickey mentions that Montana was "the last on his list," but he (Walsh) was somewhat interested in him. That workout with Owens appeared to change his mind entirely.
Walsh was quoted as saying, "I sensed just watching Joe in that workout that he'd be able to [improvise] in time, though he surprised me by how quickly he learned everything."
Bill and Sam went to work out Joe again the week before the draft and the results were more of the same. "On their flight back to San Francisco, Walsh told Wyche that his mind was made up. He'd pick Owens in the second round and Montana in the third."
Fuller and Thompson went on to short, mediocre careers. Simms won a Lombardi trophy, while Montana went on to Four Lombardi Trophies and is generally considered the best QB of all time.
If the 49ers had drafted Tom Brady in the third round of the 2000 draft, he could have been the most recent in a long line of great 49ers quarterbacks, from Y.A. Tittle to John Brodie to Joe Montana to Steve Young.
Instead, the team chose Giovanni Carmazzi, out of Hofstra, and Brady fell all the way to the sixth round, subsequently starting a new quarterback tradition for the previously underachieving New England Patriots.
Brady was selected with pick #199, a compensatory pick, in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.
As disappointed as Brady was at getting drafted in the sixth round - he may have been luckily to have been drafted at all.
One scout wrote about Brady prior to the draft in a scouting report that Tom had "Poor build, very skinny and narrow, lacks mobility and the ability to avoid the rush, lacks a really strong arm."
When Brady arrived at the Foxboro, Massachusetts in the summer of 2000, the Patriots at the time already had three quarterbacks on the roster so Brady didn't have a guarantee of even making the team, but he ended up played well in preseason and training camp and won the third quarterback roster spot.
He only appeared in one game as a rookie and completed one pass. While giving Montana a run for his money, Brady also went on to Five Super Bowl appearances and Three Lombardi trophies.
Most wins in NCAA history; record of 50-3 (all three losses by a combined 5 points, 2 of the losses due to the kicker shanking a potential winning FG attempt)
6-0 vs BCS teams; 14,600 passing yds; 142 TD; 28 Int; Passer Rating 169
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network lists Boise State's Kellen Moore as the No. 4 quarterback available, yet Moore went undrafted.
Moore, who set an FBS record with 50 career wins, was snubbed because of his lack of size and arm strength. Draft analysts on ESPN and the NFL Network gave him zero chance to be a starting quarterback.
Trent Dilfer: "I have no doubt Kellen Moore has the traits to play the first-reaction game in the NFL. His anticipation is unique, throwing the ball where the receiver is not. Seeing the field through a confident lense. ...
The NFL has become dominated by the second- and third-reaction game. Being accurate off-platform, when your feet aren't right, when the situation isn't right. ...
He is a football master. He understands concepts, he understands what the defense is doing, he understands football in general as well as anyone I've ever been around. ...
Your physical traits need to buy you time and allow you to thrive when everything isn't right. Kellen Moore is a guy who has to have everything right to be successful. ...
(His ceiling is) a very good career backup. Come in a couple times a year as a starter and help you win a football game."
Bill Polian: "He's got great intangibles. From the football understanding, from the work-ethic standpoint, from a preparation standpoint, he's Peyton Manning.
Unfortunately his physical qualities do not match up. It's hard to play in this league at a consistent level when you don't have an outstanding physical quality, and he doesn't. ...
He's going to get a chance. The ceiling here is not very high. He may make it as a backup because he's so prepared that he won't lose a game for you, but I'm not sure the physical qualities allow him to win for you."
On an ESPN poll, 60.5 percent of fans said Moore will be an NFL journeyman.
The Nattering One muses... Average arm strength, lacks a really strong arm, doesnt have great tools, these comments come to mind.
Incredibily, Moore went undrafted and has signed a contract with the Detroit Lions.
He will be the third quarterback on the Lions roster, behind established starter Matthew Stafford and veteran backup Shaun Hill.
We echo Sports Illustrated writer Peter King who tweeted: "Don't mean to preach. But Kellen Moore undrafted--absurd. Just absurd. Did NFL people watch his games?"
Apparently not. In the next two years, it will be no surprise when Moore surpasses Hill on the depth chart.
Nor will it be a surprise when the injury prone Stafford goes down, that Moore leads the Lions to their first title since the 1957 NFL championship.
New York Times