Future GM? How Tom Brady helped Bucs scout in 2021 draft


There's being a player's coach, and then there's Bruce Arians' relationship with Tom Brady.

The Buccaneers head coach let his new quarterback call many of the shots last season after Brady left the New England Patriots to join Tampa Bay in free agency. According to Arians, though, Brady is also playing a role in some front-office decisions.

Arians revealed Wednesday on Peacock's "The Rich Eisen Show" that he asked Brady to scout wide receiver prospects ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft this spring.

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"We had a number of conversations," Arians told Eisen. "I said, 'Hey, check this guy out and see if you like him. ... Look at these receivers and see if there is something you like, and I will critique your ability to critique receivers.' "

So how did the seven-time Super Bowl champion fare as a talent evaluator?

"He did great," Arians said. "There are certain things he likes. He likes really good, big, fast guys."

That checks out.

The Bucs traded up in the fourth round to draft a wide receiver who checks two of those boxes: North Texas product Jaelon Darden ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash and was a consensus All-American in 2020 but stands at just 5-foot-8 and 173 pounds.

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We don't know how much direct input Brady had into Darden's selection, but it sounds like Arians at least consulted with his QB about what Brady was looking for at the position.

It's possible Brady had the same level of communication with head coach/de facto general manager Bill Belichick, and the Patriots' two-decade run of dominance suggests there was at least some synergy between the two. If the QB-coach relationship diminished in Brady's final years in Foxboro, though, it's certainly strong in Tampa Bay, where Arians is doing everything he can to keep Brady happy as the Bucs aim to defend their Super Bowl title.

And who knows: Maybe Brady enjoys the talent evaluator role enough to pursue a general manager job ... if he ever retires.

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