Aaron Rodgers Believed Chucky Was Going To Draft Him

January 22nd, 2021

Almost a Bucs quarterback.

My oh my, how NFL history and Bucs history would have changed.

The Bucs are two days from playing the Packers in Lambeau Field for the NFC Championship. And had history been slightly different, Aaron Rodgers, instead of wearing the Packers colors of cheddar cheese and green, could have been wearing pewter and red.

The wayback machine got started yesterday with the passing of former Packers general manager Ted Thompson, the guy that drafted Rodgers.

That draft was made famous for how Rodgers, in the NFL draft green room in New York, kept falling and falling and falling and falling while sitting at a table by himself, dumbfounded by his plummeting draft stock.

Then Thompson threw the NFL a curveball and despite still having Brett Favre, drafted Rodgers. As it turned out, it was one of the savviest selections in NFL draft history and cemented Thompson as one of the sharpest minds in the draft.

(Several starters on the Packers’ current roster were drafted by Thompson.)

Anyway, Hall of Fame football executive Gil Brandt still works for the NFL even though he is 87 years old. He helps organize both the combine and the draft, where one of his jobs is to select the players who attend the draft and organizes their accommodations, etc. Brandt has done this job for a while, including when in 2005 when Rodgers came out.

Brandt’s goal is to make sure he doesn’t invite a player to the draft who may slide down the draft board. The NFL doesn’t want to embarrass any player who is soon to be a high-profile employee. So Brandt talks to NFL teams’ movers and shakers to get an idea of who they may draft. Brandt is looked up to by many NFL suits as a pioneer in personnel matters and they often share information knowing they can trust him with their intel.

Even Nick Saban trusted Brandt. Saban was turned off by Rodgers, Brandt believes, partly because of Rodgers’ unorthodox fundamentals coming out of college.

Brandt typed a story for NFL.com on how Rodgers dropped in the draft and how he fell in Thompson’s lap. Brandt had learned from Rodgers that Chucky had given Rodgers the strong sense that he was going to draft the Cal quarterback.

Looking back, I’m not so sure Rodgers trusted me fully. And I don’t blame him. He was being fed all kinds of information, and mine was just another piece to add to the large pile. At one point, someone in the 49ers organization told him he would be their pick. Two days before the draft, Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden called Rodgers and intimated that if he was still around at Pick No. 5, he would be the Buccaneers’ choice.

It seemed preposterous that a quarterback of Rodgers’ talents could slide to the 24th spot in a draft loaded with quarterback-needy teams. By my count, of the 21 clubs ahead of the Packers (Minnesota and Dallas each had to picks and passed on Rodgers twice), all but maybe one or two had a much better case to make for taking Rodgers than Green Bay did.

Back in 2005, Chucky was trying to decide if he should stick with woeful veteran “Son of Bob” Griese or go with the young, inexperienced southpaw out of Texas, Chris Simms. So clearly, as Brandt suggested, there was a need for Chucky to draft a quarterback.

(Simms did lead the Bucs to a playoff berth before he lost a spleen in a horrific football injury and was never the same.)

At the time, Chucky was still looked upon as a molder of quarterbacks. What we did not know was that image was pure BS and Chucky had about as much interest in developing a young franchise quarterback as Joe does in drinking warm beer.

In fact, it was Chucky’s reluctance to deal with any quarterback other than a high-priced, duct-tape veteran that got him run by Team Glazer.

But think of how NFL history and in particular Bucs history would be different today if Chucky kept his word and drafted Rodgers?

Hell, Chucky may still even be coaching the Bucs.

(Cool side note in the Brandt article on NFL.com: Joe never knew Alex Smith and Reggie Bush were high school teammates.)

27 Responses to “Aaron Rodgers Believed Chucky Was Going To Draft Him”

  1. Brad Says:

    Speaking of history, I just saw a reminder from 9 years ago to the day, that it was reported Chip Kelly was going to be our head coach. #itsabucslife

  2. Anonymous Says:

    You have posted this story a solid thee to four times the past 6 years. Don’t get me wrong it’s a fun nugget to share with your non bud fans, but have we gone from good, to click bait, to just plain redoing articles? Man this place has gone down hill in a hurry.

  3. Listnfrmafar Says:

    GB can have him, he doesn’t come off as a team player and that maybe the difference this weekend. Roger’s is in it for himself, unlike Brady he is all about the TEAM winning, as a player you want to play with and for him.

  4. Cannon Says:

    I honestly think that Chucky would have ruined Rodgers.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Gruden… but he doesn’t have the greatest history with young signal callers.

  5. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I remember that draft, and I clearly remember Aaron saying he wanted to go to the 49ers. After all, he not only played at Cal, he is from California, and wanted to stay close to home.

  6. miken Says:

    Chucky was going to draft him. The problem was Gruden and the Bucs were asked to coach in the senior bowl and he fell in love with caddy. Every coach at Auburn said Caddy was one of their all time favorites and he was better than Ronnie Brown. If Miami takes Ronnie, we take Rodgers… With that said, no way Rodgers was an nfl caliber starting qb in year 1 or 2, maybe not even year 3. Plus Grudem also figured he could take another retread and turn him into Rich Gannon

  7. James in Memphis Says:

    Whatever.. He sat for 4 years.. There’s no guarantee he’d be the same player if he was thrown in the fire earlier.. His throwing motion was almost totally reconstructed from the time he was drafted to when he eventually became the starter.. So let’s stop it with the what ifs.. Aarron Rogers just better thank sweet baby Jesus that he didn’t get drafted by the fraud that is Jon Gruden.. What has he done to make anybody think he can develope any position beside RB.. He knows how to call a paragraph of a play just to run Cadillac Williams 40 times a game.. He has that play call sheet and looks like Tarzan but he coaches like Jane’s sister…..

  8. Joe Says:

    to just plain redoing articles?

    Not “redoing” stories.

    1. Bucs are playing the Packers in the NFC title game you may have heard. Facing the very same quarterback who was told by the Bucs head coach he would draft him. That same quarterback is standing in the way of the Bucs going to the Super Bowl.

    2. Joe has never heard or read Gil Brandt’s version of this. So if you did read/hear Brandt tell this story before, Joe would honestly like to know where you heard or read it.

    3. The background that Brandt provides — at least to the same guy who runs this site — is very compelling and interesting. As always, Joe writes about what is interesting to Joe. So far for 13 years, that seems to be a successful strategy.

    Should Joe never write another story about the 2021 draft because Joe already wrote about it this morning?

  9. Joe Says:

    he fell in love with caddy.

    Wasn’t an awful pick. Caddy was fantastic. Injuries brought the guy down.

  10. The Red Mirage Says:

    Further evidence that Gruden sucks with personnel. He’s decent with X’s & O’s but he sucks with the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s.

  11. James in Memphis Says:

    That will happen when you are being ran in the dirt..

  12. 123urout Says:

    Running out of new stories to write ? so we just do a rerun ..hehe. Aaron Rodger is a DIVA……. good thing he is not a Buccaneer….. !

  13. Leighroy Says:

    Caddy was literally a HOFer after 3 games! Talk about peaking early

  14. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Simms, Freeman, Winston…wow…so many wasted picks. Would have been great to have had Rodgers here. I remember when they didn’t like him in GB because of Favre leaving. That looks to have lasted about 10 minutes.

  15. Roy T. Buford Says:

    I used to love wathing Cadillac shake both fists every time he almost broke one. That guy was pure energy. Very sad his injuries diminished him so early.

  16. unbelievable Says:

    Caddy was great but Gruden ran him into the ground.

    A Rodgers may have changed the trajectory of this franchise, who knows? Def one of the best QBs to ever play the game.

  17. bojim Says:

    Then leave anonymous.

  18. Bucs Says:

    @Anonymous respect the game man. The joes have been keeping this site for years, news or not, and especially when it comes to training camp updates there is no one better. Their lifes work is entretaining you, ¿so what if they re-do articles? It’s a common journalism technique

  19. orlbucfan Says:

    Bucs drafted Michael Clayton around that time, too. He was a great rookie receiver. Didn’t get the offensive honors he deserved. Second year, Gruden got some sort of hair up his butt against Clayton. Personality clash was the word. Clayton suffered a serious injury in a game against the Lions which ended his time here. I am sick of all the Gruden worship, and have been for years.

  20. Jerry Says:

    This is not new. It’s been known for years Gruden was initially going to draft him. But changed his mind. We were not the only ones. Rodgers was drafted late first round. Lots of teams passed on him too. Hindsight is always 20-20.

    He also sat behind Favre for years learning the game. Who knows if he would have developed the same if he was drafted by a different team.

  21. Brandon Says:

    Instead he drafted a RB… perhaps the most overrated RB in the history of the franchise… which is really saying something considering most fans of the team think Alstott was the greatest all-time Buc. Even in 2005, RBs shouldn’t have been drafted top 5… I think Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, and Williams pretty much proved me prophetic when I said it then… but Wiillams? He had never even carried a full load in college. He came out with ZERO receiving skills and really wasn’t a special player… a 205 lb guy running a 4.51 without fantastic quickness or hands. Nowadays, he’s a 2nd rounder…. plus he skipped out on the Senior Bowl the rest of the week right after Gruden told him not to hurt himself because he was taking him in round 1.

    After starting his career with three straight 100 yard games, Williams went on the have six more… in his career. Eventually being passed over on the rotation by Earnest Graham. Three games does not a career make. Rojo has already surpassed him in year 3 in terms of being an effective runner.

  22. Tye Says:

    It would have been an amazing ride if Bucs got Rogers… the qbs the bucs have gone through since that time has been atrocious…
    Rogers only hang up is that he can’t get past the NFCCC… 5 times and only won 1…
    if he loses to the Bucs Sunday, his 5th NFCCC lose in 6 appearances, will the Packers turn the team over to Jordan Love as they moved on from Favre to rogers?

  23. Big_Buc$ Says:

    I don’t really believe that Gruden would have developed him but then again we don’t know. We never seen Gruden around a young QB from day 1. Looking at how the game was back in that era of the early 2000s Tampa was known for defense defense and defense with the A-Train on the back end of his career. The question really would have been if they would have took him at 5 could they have build a team around him? You had Clayton and Galloway and Alex Smith at TE and a solid offensive line so its safe to say that I would have been curious to see what happens.

  24. Colonel Angus Says:

    Every team passed on Brady around 5 or 6 times, how would we have looked with TB12 and that early 2000’s Defense? Hell, Dungy might still be the coach and Belichick selling car insurance.

  25. Joe Says:


    Thank you.

  26. Winny Testaverde Says:

    The moment Chunky uttered “You ain’t seen nothing yet…”-he had officially jinxed the franchise/woken up the football gods of karma.

  27. Buczilla Says:

    Awesome story.