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Tennessee Football: Former Vols QB Joe Milton III taken as the ANTI-Tom Brady by New England Patriots in sixth round of NFL Draft

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The most accomplished quarterback in history was taken by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the NFL Draft under a first-year head coach after he had trouble keeping his starting job in college and committed to the Michigan Wolverines out of high school. Joe Milton III is all of those things.

Yes, Milton, just like Tom Brady in 2000, was selected by the Pats in the sixth round of the draft. He went 193rd in the 2024 NFL Draft to be precise, and Brady went 199th. Meanwhile, Jerod Mayo is now the first-year head coach, as Bill Belichick was back then. Oh, and Milton didn’t finish at Michigan. He obviously went to the Vols, where Mayo went.

Still, the parallels are uncanny. They both entered the pros with tons of questions about their game, largely because of their struggles in college. Milton lost his starting job to Hendon Hooker in 2021, and Brady couldn’t hold off Drew Henson in 1999. However, the two quarterbacks couldn’t be more different.

Brady was a drop-back passer with a weak arm who could barely move in the pocket. He had arguably the worst combine of any quarterback in history, which is why he fell so low in the draft. Ability to process information, the right coaching, a solid supporting cast and a ton of hard work propelled him.

On the other hand, Milton has a gigantic arm who wows everybody with his physical abilities and is incredibly mobile. He’s got at least an inch and 10 pounds on Brady. In every way, he’s more physically gifted and, just on raw talent, is a coach’s dream to develop.

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However, Milton has major issues with his accuracy, and there have been questions about his ability to process quickly. While Brady’s game tape was his selling point, Milton’s physical attributes are his. Just like Brady, though, his drawbacks scared many teams away.

What does this mean going forward? Well, the Pats also took Drake Maye with the third pick of the NFL Draft, but they traded Mac Jones, so Milton is headed to a quarterback room with some level of open competition, which is opposite Brady, who was drafted to be Drew Bledsoe’s backup in 2000.

Still, maybe the game has changed. The lesson in 2000 was don’t fall in love with the quarterback’s physical attributes. Fall in love with their smarts, accuracy and work ethic. Those things are still important, and Milton could have two of them, but maybe in this age of creative offenses, there’s a spot for Milton.

As a former Vol, Mayo will be high on him, and new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt could work with him. Maybe the Patriot Way will wear on Milton. However, given all their similarities, Milton is almost being taken in the NFL Draft to be the anti-version of Brady.

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