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Steve Mariucci discussed picking Giovanni Carmazzi over Tom Brady

Hindsight is 20/20, but it is interesting to hear the thought process on Carmazzi and Brady.

The San Francisco 49ers welcome Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to Santa Clara on Sunday in a Week 11 matchup. The 49ers are heavy home underdogs, and Brady is in a position where he might just want to wipe the floor with them. Brady grew up in the Bay Area, and was a huge 49ers fan. This is the first time he will face the 49ers in the Bay Area, so it is kind of a big moment for him, even if he is no longer a 49ers fan.

Much has been made about Brady’s slip in the 2000 NFL Draft. Six quarterbacks were selected ahead of him, and one of those quarterbacks was Hofstra’s Giovanni Carmazzi. The 49ers spent a third round pick on Carmazzi. They had lost Steve Young to retirement the previous year, and Jeff Garcia was viewed at the time as a stop-gap measure. Jim Druckenmiller had been a bust, and so the team was searching for a long-term option.

Steve Mariucci was head coach at the time, and recently he chatted with Bill Burt of the Eagle-Tribune, a newspaper based in Andover, MA. Mariucci went into a lot of detail about the decision to draft Carmazzi, and also the team’s interactions with Brady prior to the draft.

The whole article is worth a read because it has a ton of detail, but I wanted to pull out a couple notable comments.

Why they chose Carmazzi:

“This is Scouting 101,” said Mariucci. “Gio was a Rhodes Scholar (candidate), did really well in the Wonderlic (intelligence test). Was a point guard on the basketball team. He was a captain. He was very athletic. He had a very strong arm. He ran a 4.7 40 (yard dash) ... My point is he had all of the measurables academically with intelligence and he had all of the measurables athletically.”

The draft process is not a simple process. Teams are looking at hundreds of players, trying to decide who can do what. Normally with picks after the first couple rounds, it gets even more difficult because there is just so much volume. However, when a team is looking at a quarterback, one would think they could focus in a bit more. That being said, they thought he had everything.

On knowing Carmazzi didn’t have it:

“It wasn’t good in person, and it was just as bad on film,” said Mariucci. “Guys were coming off the field saying, ‘Gio is so nervous ... He can’t spit out the formations and plays.’

“We could tell right away that it wasn’t a fit. Something went way wrong when Gio entered a professional huddle. He didn’t know how to handle it.”

This is an interesting discussion, particularly because of the “small school” red flag for the Hofstra product. Mariucci goes on to talk about how doubts were raised and they were never extinguished. I don’t know how much blame goes on the quarterback and how much blame goes on the coaching staff once Carmazzi joined the team.

On interaction with Brady at local talent workout:

“We had Tom here for a private workout and let him leave here without knowing anything more about him,” said Mariucci. “That’s the part that really upsets me. We had him here and didn’t do our homework.

“He probably threw the ball eight or nine times, ran the 40 and that was it. It was very quick and not very thorough. I remember going back to look at our notes from the workout and there was nothing substantial on Tom. That would have been the time, if it’s possible, to find out what makes him tick.”

Hindsight is 20/20, so I don’t think you can hold too much against the 49ers on this one. There might have been people who thought he would be an all-time great quarterback coming out of Michigan, but I have to imagine that number is incredibly small, and likely all related to him. I do think that given his big school background, it would have made sense to talk to him in a bit more detail, but again, hindsight makes it a lot easier to say that.

Make sure and give this article a read. It’s an interesting one in light of Sunday’s matchup.