New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is the most successful player in NFL history. He’s also the first to admit that he’s not perfect. He’s not the fastest, he doesn’t have the strongest arm, and he isn’t the best at throwing on the run.
Brady was asked about what he would want to incorporate from the game of Houston Texans rookie QB Deshaun Watson and responded with a positive review of Watson’s mobility and general summary of Brady’s own game- and how he’s overcome his weaknesses.
“If I could run a 4.7 [forty-yard dash], man, I would have been the first overall pick,” Brady replied. “Unfortunately, I ran a 5.2. I wouldn’t have been the first overall pick – I change that. I probably would’ve been a fourth-rounder. I wish I could make some of those plays. Look, every player has strengths and weakness and you learn to play to your strengths, and you learn to develop your weaknesses. I’m still working on those things in my 18th year. I wish I was born 6' 5", 240, could run a 4.5, jump 40 inches, bench 415, but you can't.
“You play to your strengths and I think with our team I’ve been able to learn and think my way through the game. I tell the guys all the time – ‘Nothing good happens when I've got the ball in my hands.’ So the faster I can get it out of my hands, the better it is which means we've got to have a lot of trust.
“I think there are a lot of other players in the league like Russell [Wilson] or Aaron [Rodgers] that prove that when the ball is in their hands a lot of great things happen – Ben Roethlisberger. It's about improving the things that maybe you’re not so good at, which I’m going to keep trying to do and keep building on the things you are good at.”
Brady is still working on his ability to be more mobile at the quarterback position- whether that’s by moving around inside the pocket, throwing while on the run, or tucking the ball and picking up some rushing yards. The offense is obviously going to pick up more yards when the ball is no longer in Brady’s hands because that usually means someone more athletic is moving towards the goal line.
I was also curious to see if any players in the league meet Brady’s vision for an ideal player- 6’5, 240 pounds, 4.5s 40 yard dash, and a 40 inch vertical- and there are actually a few from the history of the NFL Combine that qualify.
WR Vincent Jackson
The 6’5, 241 pound Jackson has put together an exceptional career. He ran a 4.51s 40 yard dash and leaped an impressive 39 inches in the vertical.
TE Matt Jones
The 6’6, 242 pound Jones was a former quarterback that tried to transition to wide receiver and tight end in the NFL. He had an electric 4.37s 40 yard dash and a 39.5 inch vertical.
EDGE Manny Lawson
The 6’5, 241 pound Lawson was a great 3-4 outside linebacker during his career. He ran a 4.48s 40 yard dash and had a 39.5 inch vertical.
TE Jared Cook
The 6‘5, 246 pound Cook has bounced around the league, but his athleticism is undeniable. He runs a 4.50s 40 yard dash and posted a 41 inch vertical.
EDGE Leonard Floyd
TE Bucky Hodges
The 6’6, 257 pound Hodges ran 4.57s 40 yard dash and jumped an impressive 39 inch vertical at the 2017 NFL Combine. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round.
Of all of these players, Cook is the only one to meet every one of Brady’s ideal measurements, but the rest come exceptionally close. I guess Brady wishes he were a tight end or a pass rusher in an alternate reality.
Brady has had a few teammates come close to these measurements, too.
EDGE Derek Rivers: 6’4, 248 pounds, 4.61s 40, 35” vertical
LB Barkevious Mingo: 6’4, 241 pounds, 4.58s 40, 37” vertical
TE Rob Housler: 6’5, 248 pounds, 4.46s 40, 37” vertical
EDGE Mark Anderson: 6’4, 254 pounds, 4.62s 40, 42” vertical
TE Visanthe Shianco: 6’4, 251 pounds, 4.65s 40, 39.5” vertical
So while no one has met Brady’s lofty goals, perhaps that just means Brady will have to some day represent the ideal version of himself.