SI’s all-time draft: Brady No. 9, Sanders No. 22

The Detroit News

Tom Brady has proven to be quarterback you can build a team around — even an all-time team.

Brady, the former Michigan quarterback who’s won five Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, was a first-round pick in the Monday Morning Quarterback All-Time Draft, released Monday by Sports Illustrated.

Twelve “architects” who include former general managers, executives, players and journalists, held a 25-round draft in which they were required to field a team with an 11-man offense, 11-man defense, a kicker, punter and a “wild-card” player. Every player in pro football history was eligible to be drafted.

Brady was the second quarterback taken overall after Baltimore Colts legend Johnny Unitas (No. 3), going No. 9 to MMQB’s Peter King.

Greatest quarterback of all time? Arguably,” King wrote. “Greatest sixth-round pick? No doubt. Brady’s career is bracketed by Super Bowl titles 15 years apart, with three other Lombardis in-between. The all-time leader in postseason appearances, he’s won 14 division titles, two league MVPs and four Super Bowl MVP awards. He also has the second-lowest interception rate in history.”

Former Lions running back Barry Sanders was a second-round pick, taken by Hall-of-Fame executive Bill Polian at No. 22 overall. Sanders was the fourth running back selected, following Jim Brown (No. 6 overall), Walter Payton (No. 18) and Gale Sayers (No. 21), and right before O.J. Simpson (No. 23) and Lenny Moore (No. 24).

“Perhaps the most elusive tailback to play the game, the 1988 Heisman Trophy winner rushed for at least 1,100 yards in each of his 10 seasons and averaged more than 1,500 yards per year,” wrote the MMQB staff. “In 1997 he became just the third player to surpass 2,000 yards in a season; when he surprisingly retired after the following season at age 30, Walter Payton’s all-time rushing mark was well within reach. Sanders’ 15,269 career rushing yards rank third all-time; he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.”

A pair of former Lions went back-to-back in the fourth round: linebacker Joe Schmidt (No. 44) and cornerback Dick “Night Train” Lane (No. 45). Former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was taken in the fifth round (No. 55).

Other former Lions who were drafted: defensive tackle Curley Culp (seventh round, No. 77 overall), Lem Barney (seventh, 79), tight end Charlie Sanders (12th, 140), safety/punter Yale Lary (13th, 156), running back John Henry Johnson (14th, 161), safety Jack Christiansen (16th, 188), running back Hugh McElhenny (19th, 217), guard Dick Stanfel (19th, 224), cornerback Dick LeBeau (19th, 228), tackle Lou Creekmur (20th, 240), and kicker Jason Hanson (21st, 248).