This is from Peter King’s Monday Morning QB column for ESPN
Drew Brees an icon on the level of Jim Kelly.
Gregg Williams the next Marv Levy.
The San Antonio Saints.
It’s interesting how one draft choice you didn’t make can affect so many lives and two franchises. Think back to the 2001 draft. Gregg Williams, the coach of the Bills, was teaming for his first draft as a head coach with GM Tom Donahoe. Before the draft, when Williams attended a workout for Brees, the smallish Purdue quarterback, he thought he was the best quarterback prospect coming out that year.
“I fell in love with him,” Williams said the other day. “Not just his ability; he had plenty of arm. But his moxie as a leader. You need that in your quarterback, and I loved his.”
The Bills determined they would use their first-round pick to get Nate Clements, the Ohio State cornerback (they actually traded down a few spots in the first round and still got him), then focus all their attention trying to move up from the 46th overall pick in the second round — their slot — to pick near the front of the round. That’s where they projected Brees getting picked. So Buffalo began calling around, trying to see if Brees was still there when they picked, could the Bills move up to get him? No team bit. And then, as the second round dawned, San Diego used the 32nd overall pick to select Brees.
“I almost pulled a hamstring in the draft room, jumping up and down because I was so mad,” said Williams.
Think about how this might have changed the current landscape of pro football. A year later, Buffalo wouldn’t have been in the market when New England went to deal Drew Bledsoe, so Bledsoe would have been traded elsewhere in 2002. It’s likely Brees would still be quarterbacking the Bills. “I’ll tell you this: I wouldn’t be sitting here in New Orleans right now,” said Williams, who’s certain the drafting of Brees would have led to a great marriage in Buffalo.
Mind of Joe
Great, but knowing how cheap the Bills are they wouldn’t of resigned Brees anyways.