Drew Brees is now the NFL’s all-time passing yardage leader, but when he read his pre-draft grades a couple years ago he clearly didn’t appreciate them.
Since he only needed 201 yards against the Washington Redskins, it was a foregone conclusion Drew Brees would become the NFL’s all-time leading passer on Monday night. He set the record with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith late in the first half, on his way to going 26-for-29 for 363 yards and three touchdowns in a 43-19 win for the Saints.
Listed at an even 6-feet tall and a little over 200 pounds, and with major surgery on his right shoulder just as he was heading into free agency back in 2006, Brees has never stood out as a prototypical NFL quarterback with size and arm strength to burn.
Even after a prolific college career at Purdue, in head coach Joe Tiller’s spread offense that was ahead of its time in a lot of respects, Brees had doubters entering the NFL. He wound being an early second-round pick, taken 32nd overall by the Chargers in 2001, but the stigma attached to shorter quarterbacks followed Brees.
Typically during their shows from the site of the Super Bowl, The Dan Patrick Show finds pre-draft evaluations of guests and has whoever it is read them on the air. It’s a fun bit to watch, with the television simulcast in play, and Brees was put through it a couple years ago.
Brees was clearly a mix of annoyed and amused as he read things like “lacks accuracy and touch on his long throws” and “does not possess the ideal height you look for in a pro passer.” His follow-up to reading the latter note — “I didn’t think that was comin’” — was a nice touch.
Producer Paul Pabst relayed a story Tuesday morning, after Brees made an appearance on the show, about what happened after Brees read his pre-draft evaluations. After the sheet of paper was placed on Pabst’s desk, Brees grabbed it, asked if he could have it and apparently folded it nicely before giving it someone.
More than 72,100 yards later, with more sure to come, Brees has blown any stigma about shorter quarterbacks out of the water. But he still looks for motivation, and the doubters among NFL scouts back in 2001 added a little bit of fuel to his fire in 2016.