No. 12 on his uniform, No. 199 in the reports of NFL scouts.
No. 199, of course, is where Tom Brady was drafted in 2000, passed over 198 times -- a span that covered all 32 teams, including five times by New England, which finally took him. "If we'd known, we'd have taken him higher,'' Bill Belichick often mutters sardonically.
For the third time in three redrafts, the No. 1 overall pick based on performance is a quarterback -- the first two were Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb.
In this year, the first QB, Chad Pennington, went 18th and Nos. 1 and 2 were both from Penn State: DE Courtney Brown and LB LaVar Arrington.
If they weren't busts, they were close, especially Brown, who because of injuries played just 61 games in seven seasons and had 19 sacks, a total that the Browns, who drafted him, hoped might be a one-season mark. He didn't last as long in the NFL as another Brown, Ralph, a useful extra defensive back now with Arizona, his fourth team, after being taken in the fifth round by the Giants, 139 picks after Courtney.
No. 4 that year was Peter Warrick, the Florida State wide receiver who a lot of folks thought was the best player in the draft. He landed with Cincinnati, had four pretty good seasons, capped by 79 catches for 819 yards in 2003, before injuring a knee. But he never was the deep threat he was supposed to be.
There were four running backs taken in the first 20 picks. Jamal Lewis and Shaun Alexander had the best single seasons, Thomas Jones has had the longevity and Ron Dayne, a Heisman Trophy winner and, at that time, college football's leading career rusher, had little success at all -- the Giants thought they needed a full-time running back because they regarded Tiki Barber as a punt returner and third-down back. Dayne had a few decent games in New York, Denver and Houston, but wasn't consistent.
The Patriots had few hopes for Brady other than as a potential backup for Drew Bledsoe. After all, he'd spent his career at Michigan sitting behind Brian Griese and then splitting the quarterback job with Drew Henson, touted in those years as one of the great athletes ever, a two-sport star. It turned out Henson could play neither baseball nor football at the major-league level.
Brady, of course, is more than major-league caliber. And he's not the only sixth-round QB from 2000 to have success.
The other is Marc Bulger, who was taken with the 168th pick by New Orleans, cut in camp by Mike Ditka and picked up by the Rams and Mike Martz, who had said during a discussion of young QBs a few weeks earlier, "I really like this kid Bulger who the Saints have.''
All of which shows again that both mock drafts and the real thing are nothing but a guessing game.
The Top 15
1. Tom Brady, QB (Originally drafted: Patriots, No. 199 overall): One of the top 10 quarterbacks ever. Maybe one of the top five.
2. Brian Urlacher, LB (Bears, No. 9 overall): The heart of a good defense often spoiled by a bad offense. A lot of people blamed Chicago's problems last year on Jay Cutler, but the opening-game wrist injury that put Urlacher out for the season certainly didn't help.
3. Chris Samuels, T (Redskins, No. 2 overall): Just retired because of injuries, but a premier left tackle for a half-dozen seasons. Left tackles go before running backs, which is why he's here ahead of ...
4. Shaun Alexander, RB (Seahawks, No. 19 overall): MVP in 2005, when he rushed for 1,880 yards and scored 27 touchdowns, then an NFL record as Seattle went to the Super Bowl. Career ended in rapid fashion, the rule with RBs.
5. Jamal Lewis, RB (Ravens, No. 5 overall): Had 2,066 yards rushing in 2003. But after spending time in jail on a drug conviction, only averaged more than four yards a carry once. Played his last three seasons with the Browns, a step slower than he'd been in Baltimore, and retired after last season.
6. Julian Peterson, LB (49ers, No. 16 overall): A do-it-all outside force for six seasons with the 49ers, one of the few bright spots on a team that after two decades of success, went into a tailspin during his time there. Now with Detroit, though maybe not for much longer.
7. Keith Bulluck, LB (Titans, No. 30 overall): Famous for not being famous -- after three interceptions at New Orleans in 2007, a Washington-based columnist and radio host who ESPN threw in the Monday night booth noted that the Tennessee players (meaning Bulluck) were obscure. Not to football people.
8. Plaxico Burress, WR (Steelers, No. 8 overall): Had 1,325 yards receiving in his third season, but Pittsburgh let him leave after his fifth because of inconsistency on and off the field. A star for three-and-a-half years with the Giants. Best known (on-field) for catching the winning touchdown pass in a Super Bowl XLII upset of Brady and the unbeaten Patriots. Now in jail after being convicted of gun possession.
9. Laveranues Coles, WR (Jets, No. 78 overall): The Jets had four first-round picks in 2000, yet their third-rounder might have been the best of the bunch. Out of work right now, but Coles has 674 catches for 8,609 yards and 49 touchdowns over a career that includes stops with the Jets (twice), Redskins and Bengals.
10. Chad Pennington, QB (Jets, No. 18 overall): Shoulder injuries have curtailed his career. And while not a "franchise'' QB by Brady/Manning standards, he's a solid one when healthy, getting the Jets to within two missed field goals of the AFC title game in 2005 and taking Miami to the AFC East championship in 2008, the year after it was 1-15.
11. John Abraham, DE-LB (Jets, No. 13 overall): A natural pass rusher who has had five seasons of double-digit sacks, including 16 1/2 with Atlanta in 2008. Has been hampered by injuries, and the Falcons limited his play last season to ensure he was on the field in pass-rushing situations.
12. Mike Brown, S (Bears, No. 39 overall): Anyone who watched Chicago's defense in its good years saw Brown make all kinds of plays, as in 2001, when he had three sacks and five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns to help the Bears finish 13-3. When the defense was bad, it was usually because Brown was out with an injury, which he was a lot.
13. Thomas Jones, RB (Cardinals, No. 7 overall): Never averaged four yards a carry in Arizona. But like many Cardinals until the Whisenhunt era, blossomed when he left, primarily with the Bears and Jets. Rushed for 1,210 yards on Chicago's Super Bowl team in 2006, then 1,402 last season as the Jets made an unexpected run to the AFC title game. Released this offseason in a controversial cost-cutting move.
14. Adalius Thomas, DE-LB (Ravens, No. 186 overall): Do schemes make the player or do players make the schemes? Played just about every defensive position, including safety in Baltimore. Had 28 sacks, four interceptions and four forced fumbles from 2004-06. Signed with New England but never fit in and never got along with Bill Belichick.
15. Marc Bulger, QB (Saints, No. 168 overall): Signed by the Rams in 2001, supplanted Kurt Warner when he was hurt in 2002 and again for good in 2003. Has had a solid career on a declining team. He's thrown for 22,814 yards with 122 TDs and 93 interceptions and was better early when the Rams were good.
Special mention: Shane Lechler, P (Raiders, No. 142 overall): Oakland used its first rounder on kicker Sebastian Janikowski. Too high, though Janikowski has cleaned up his personal problems and is one of the NFL's best. But Lechler, taken with a much lower pick, may be the best punter ever. Has a career average of 47.3 yards per punt, the highest ever and had two of the three highest nets for a season.
The Five Worst Picks
1. R. Jay Soward, WR (Jacksonville, No. 29 overall): Tom Coughlin is usually a good judge of talent. In this case, he was a bad judge of attitude. Soward had trouble on and off the field at Southern Cal -- he was almost run over by Traveler, the USC mascot while gesturing at a UCLA fan -- and repeated his behavior in the NFL. He acknowledged an affinity for marijuana and alcohol and was in trouble with Coughlin as soon as he arrived in camp. Lasted one year and had 14 catches. He ended his career in Canada after being suspended several times by the NFL.
2. Courtney Brown, DE (Cleveland, No. 1 overall): In its second year back in the league, Cleveland got its second bust (Tim Couch was the first). His knees were a problem -- he played 61 games in six seasons -- and he never showed anything like the burst off the ball he'd shown at Penn State. Had just 19 sacks for his career.
3. Peter Warrick, WR (Cincinnati, No. 4 overall): Supposed to be the next Jerry Rice. Showed bursts, including two punt return TDs, but was hurt and was eclipsed in Cincinnati by two guys we'll meet in the next draft, a second-rounder who now calls himself by his number and a seventh-rounder now in Seattle.
4. Giovanni Carmazzi, QB (San Francisco, No. 65 overall): Can someone this low be a bust? Well, Carmazzi, who played at Hofstra, was highly publicized as the "sleeper'' QB of this draft -- and was taken 134 picks ahead of Brady, who grew up about 10 miles from Candlestick Park. Arm so strong it knocked over receivers 10 yards away ... when it found them, which was rarely.
5. Sylvester Morris, WR (Kansas City, No. 21 overall): He had 48 catches as a rookie for 678 yards (14.1 yards per reception) and three touchdowns. Hurt his knee during the offseason and never played again, trying a comeback in 2004 with Tampa Bay.
Best Drafts by Team
1. New England: A bad draft except for Brady, which makes it a good draft.
2. New York Jets: Could hardly miss with four first-round picks. Abraham and Pennington were the best, but DE Shaun Ellis has had a good career and Anthony Becht is still around as a blocking tight end. Coles, the third-rounder was a bonus.
3. Chicago: Urlacher at No. 9 makes it good and Brown was a bonus who would have been more if he'd stayed healthy.
4. Green Bay: Took TE Bubba Franks and OT Chad Clifton 1-2, later LB N'ail Diggs, DE/PR Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and OT Mark Tauscher (seventh round). Clifton and Tauscher gave the Packers bookends of the decade.
5. Baltimore: Lewis and Thomas make it a success.
6 Pittsburgh: Burress leads a group with considerable longevity in Pittsburgh and elsewhere, including LB Clark Haggans, OT Marvel Smith, DT Kendrick Clancy and DB and KR Hank Poteat.
Notes: The Redskins had Nos. 2-3 overall and got Samuels plus LaVar Arrington, who never got the system in Washington, signed with the Giants and was just learning New York's system when he tore an Achilles' tendon that ended his career.
Arizona, meanwhile, got good players who all got better once they left: Jones, Darwin Walker and David Barrett.