NFL Draft

Looking Back At Gil Brandt’s 2018 Top 100 Draft Prospect Rankings

April 15 hasn’t been a very enjoyable day for me for nearly two decades now as that’s the day I must have a very large check to the United States Treasury Department postmarked by. Additionally, my birthday is on April 16 and quite honestly, my own annual mortality thoughts are usually in full gear on April 15. However, this year April 15 fell on a Monday and it just so happened to coincide with the annual release of Gil Brandt‘s Hot 150 list. If you’ve read the sire religiously over the years, you should know by now that I really look forward to the release of that list.

Brandt, who was deservingly voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this year, is now 86 years of age. Even so, he remains one of the most connected NFL draft analysts still walking this Earth. His career resume speaks for itself and thus when he ranks draft hopefuls annually, that list needs to be respected.

As mentioned, Brandt released his top 150 rankings ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft on Monday and in celebration of that, now is a great time to take my annual quick look back at his 2018 rankings, and specifically how he fared with his top 100. You can see his final top 100 players of 2018 below along with where the player was ultimately selected overall and by which team.

Now for how Brandt fared last year.

Of the 32 players that wound up being drafted in the first round last year, Brandt had all but 6 of them ranked in his top 32. So, how had Brandt done prior to last year with his first 32 ranked players? Below is my research that was included in last year’s recap:

Of the 32 players that wound up being drafted in 2017’s first round, Brandt had all but 6 of them ranked in his top 32. The year prior, Brandt had all but 6 of the 31 total players drafted in the first-round of the 2016 NFL Draft ranked in his top 31. The year prior to that, Brandt had all but 7 of the 32 total players drafted in the first-round of the 2015 NFL Draft ranked in his top 32.

In summation, Brandt usually has, on average, all but 6 of each year’s first-round draft picks included in his top 32 ranked players. When you think about it, that’s damn good and damn consistent.

This next piece of analysis will really amuse or anger fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Maybe even do both.

Brandt’s biggest first-round miss last year wound up being safety Terrell Edmunds, who the Steelers selected 28th overall. Brandt had Edmunds ranked 87th overall in his Hot 150. Additionally and now not one bit surprising at this point, Brandt’s biggest miss the year prior to that was outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who the Steelers selected 30th overall. Go back to 2016 and Brandt’s biggest first round miss wound up being cornerback Artie Burns, who the Steelers selected 25th overall that year. Brandt had Burns ranked 99th overall and it was his biggest miss in his top 100 ranked players that year. When you hear fans say that they believe the Steelers reached in the first round of the last three drafts, Brandt’s rankings would seem to validate that narrative to some degree.

In case you’re curious, Brandt had Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree ranked 20th overall just ahead of the 2015 NFL Draft. and ahead of the 2014 NFL Draft, he had Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier ranked 19th overall.

Of Brandt’s top 100 players in 2018, only 20 of them wound up being selected outside the top 100 selections for a 80% success rate. Last year, Brandt had 23 of his top 100 ranked players being selected outside the actual top 100 for a 77% success rate. The year prior to that, 2017, only 21 players that Brandt had ranked in his top 100 wound up being selected outside the top 100 selections, good for a 79% success rate. How’s that for consistency and accuracy when it comes to a top 100 pre-draft ranking list?

When you look at Brandt’s top 150 players for the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft, you’ll notice that he has just two off-the-ball linebackers, Devin White and Devin Bush, ranked in his top 50. Of those two players, perhaps Bush, ranked 14th overall by Brandt, has the best shot at still being on the board come time for the Steelers to make their first-round selection. White, who Brandt has ranked 8th overall, is obviously expected to be long gone by the time the Steelers select at 20th overall, assuming they stay put.

For what it’s worth, Brandt has off-the-ball linebackers Vosean Joseph, Cody Barton, Mack Wilson, Germaine Pratt, and Jahlani Tavai ranked in that specific order in his second 50. I guess I should probably throw some Barton tape on tonight, right?

As for as cornerbacks go this year, Brandt has Deandre Baker (26th), Greedy Williams (27th) and Byron Murphy (30th) all grouped tightly together. Rock Ya-Sin is the next cornerback on Brandt’s list at No. 38. Julian Love and Justin Layne are next as far as cornerbacks go and they’re followed on Brandt’s list by Joejuan Williams, David Long, Sean Bunting, Jamel Dean, Trayvon Mullen and Lonnie Johnson in the top 100.

Last, but not least, let me point to everyone that Brandt has Clemson edge rusher Clelin Ferrell ranked 18th overall. Should White and Bush both be gone by the time the Steelers pick 20th overall in the first-round, Ferrell, assuming he’s still on the board at that time, could very well wind up being this year’s selection. I wrote about that very possibility earlier on Thursday.

In closing, I think everyone should now see once again why I really look forward to Brandt’s Hot 150 list every year at this time and especially his top 100 ranked players.

As part of you giving some feedback on Brandt’s 2019 rankings, let me know in the comments below which players he has in his top 100 to ultimately be selected outside of the first three rounds of this year’s draft. That should make for a fun exercise.

1 Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State 2 NYG -1
2 Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA 10 ARI -8
3 Sam Darnold, QB, USC 3 NYJ 0
4 Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma 1 CLE 3
5 Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State 5 DEN 0
6 Tremaine Edmunds, ILB, Virginia Tech 16 BUF -10
7 Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming 7 BUF 0
8 Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame 6 IND 2
9 Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State 4 CLE 5
10 Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama 11 MIA -1
11 Vita Vea, DT, Washington 12 TAM -1
12 Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio 14 NOR -2
13 Roquan Smith, OLB, Georgia 8 CHI 5
14 Derwin James, S, Florida State 17 LAC -3
15 Will Hernandez, OG, Texas-El Paso 34 NYG -19
16 Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville 18 GNB -2
17 Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Boise State 19 DAL -2
18 Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama 26 ATL -8
19 D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland 24 CAR -5
20 Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama 13 WAS 7
21 Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville 32 BAL -11
22 Connor Williams, G, Texas 50 DAL -28
23 James Daniels, C, Iowa 39 CHI -16
24 Sony Michel, RB, Georgia 31 NWE -7
25 Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame 9 SFO 16
26 Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa 45 GNB -19
27 Taven Bryan, DT, Florida 29 JAX -2
28 Rashaan Evans, OLB, Alabama 22 TEN 6
29 Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA 15 OAK 14
30 Derrius Guice, RB, LSU 59 WAS -29
31 Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida 30 MIN 1
32 Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State 49 PHI -17
33 Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU 40 DEN -7
34 Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia 35 CLE -1
35 Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia 23 NWE 12
36 Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College 41 TEN -5
37 Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M 47 ARI -10
38 Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina 25 BAL 13
39 Donte Jackson, CB, LSU 55 CAR -16
40 Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas 20 DET 20
41 Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State 42 MIA -1
42 Tyrell Crosby, G, Oregon 153 DET -111
43 Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn 63 TAM -20
44 Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado 58 ATL -14
45 Ronald Jones, RB, USC 38 TAM 7
46 D.J. Chark, WR, LSU 61 JAX -15
47 Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma 83 BAL -36
48 Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama 93 JAX -45
49 Justin Reid, S, Stanford 68 HOU -19
50 Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State 72 NYJ -22
51 Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan 140 OAK -89
52 Jessie Bates, S, Wake Forest 54 CIN -2
53 Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn 43 DET 10
54 Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State 27 SEA 27
55 Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma 86 BAL -31
56 Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford 96 BUF -40
57 Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis 51 CHI 6
58 Brian O’Neill, OT, Pittsburgh 62 MIN -4
59 Martinas Rankin, C, Mississippi State 80 HOU -21
60 Dante Pettis, WR, Washington 44 SFO 16
61 Billy Price, C, Ohio State 21 CIN 40
62 Austin Corbett, G, Nevada 33 CLE 29
63 Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State 77 CIN -14
64 Braden Smith, G, Auburn 37 IND 27
65 Fred Warner, OLB, BYU 70 SFO -5
66 Lorenzo Carter, Edge, Georgia 66 NYG 0
67 Rasheem Green, DE, USC 79 SEA -12
68 Malik Jefferson, OLB, Texas 78 CIN -10
69 Josh Sweat, Edge, Florida State 130 PHI -61
70 Kemoko Turay, Edge, Rutgers 52 IND 18
71 Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama 118 BAL -47
72 Joseph Noteboom, OT, TCU 89 LAR -17
73 Rashaan Gaulden, S, Tennessee 85 CAR -12
74 Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State 76 PIT -2
75 James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State 60 PIT 15
76 Cole Madison, G, Washington State 138 GNB -62
77 Josey Jewell, ILB, Iowa 106 DEN -29
78 Arden Key, Edge, LSU 87 OAK -9
79 Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana 101 CAR -22
80 Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame 207 GNB -127
81 Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Edge, Oklahoma 160 LAR -79
82 Michael Dickson, P, Texas 149 SEA -67
83 Daniel Carlson, K, Auburn 167 MIN -84
84 Chuks Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan 92 PIT -8
85 Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State 81 DAL 4
86 Marcus Allen, S, Penn State 148 PIT -62
87 Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech 28 PIT 59
88 Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky 171 DAL -83
89 Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond 108 NYG -19
90 Deadrin Senat, DT, South Florida 90 ATL 0
91 Da’shawn Hand, DE, Alabama 114 DET -23
92 Shaquem Griffin, OLB, Central Florida 141 SEA -49
93 Tremon Smith, CB, Central Arkansas 196 KAN -103
94 B.J. Hill, DT, N.C. State 69 NYG 25
95 Nyheim Hines, RB, N.C. State 104 IND -9
96 Deon Cain, WR, Clemson 185 IND -89
97 Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon 71 DEN 26
98 Tarvarius Moore, S, Southern Mississippi 95 SFO 3
99 Dane Cruikshank, S, Arizona 152 TEN -53
100 Darius Leonard, OLB, South Carolina State 36 IND 64
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