The one thing Jeff Ulbrich has done better than Tom Brady

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  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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  • Tom Brady
    Tom Brady
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  • Jeff Ulbrich
    American football player and coach

The 2000 NFL draft was a memorable one for the Jets.

New York had four first-round picks, the most of any team in the history of the draft to date. The Jets used the picks to land three franchise centerpieces in John Abraham, Chad Pennington and Shawn Ellis.

That same draft, however, is when Gang Green’s Tom Brady nightmare began.

The Patriots selected Brady in the sixth round with the 199th overall pick. Brady sat on the bench for a year until Jets linebacker Mo Lewis knocked Drew Bledsoe out with an injury in Week 2 of the 2001 season. Brady hasn’t stopped dominating New York since.

Ironically, the man tasked with slowing Brady down this Sunday was selected before the quarterback in that same draft. Jets DC Jeff Ulbrich was taken by the 49ers in the third round with the 86th overall pick — 113 picks before Brady’s name was called.

“My claim to fame is that I was drafted before him,” Ulbrich said Thursday. “That’s my one thing I’ve done better than him.”

Ulbrich will never be able to claim he is the greatest football player of all time like Brady, but he had a nice career for himself in San Francisco before getting into coaching. The hard-nosed linebacker made 501 tackles over a decade in the NFL and registered 70 or more stops in a season on four separate occasions.

Brady, meanwhile, won three Super Bowls, an MVP award and secured multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections during that same span. He has gone on to play 12 seasons since Ulbrich traded in his cleats for a headset in 2010, and more are likely on the way.

Brady, now a Buc, is still firing on all cylinders at age 44, throwing for 4,580 yards and 37 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions. Ulbrich’s defense has not shown it is equipped to handle a passer of Brady’s caliber at any point this season, but maybe Gang Green’s secondary can step up and deliver their defensive coordinator a second bragging right over Brady this weekend.

“Every time I throw on the tape when I have to play him, I’m anticipating and hoping that there’s going to be some sort of…he’s falling off and his skill is declining,” Ulbrich said. “And it’s not. At all. Which is just astounding.”

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