Looking Back At Gil Brandt’s 2016 Top 100 Draft Prospect Rankings

NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt has been associated with the league since 1960 and while he’s now 84 years of age, he still has a pretty good pulse on draft prospects.

On Wednesday, Brandt released his top 150 players for the 2017 NFL Draft and it got me wondering about how he did last year with his rankings.

Personally, I think a draft analyst should only be judged closely by his or her top 100 and for obvious reasons. After all, that’s roughly three full rounds of players. With that said, below is a table that includes Brandt’s final top 100 players from 2016 along with where each player wound up being selected overall. I also included how far Brandt was off in the last column. A negative number means he was too high on a player while a negative number indicates he was too low on a player.

So, what’s a good margin of error? For the sake of this exercise and until one of you can present another number and reason supporting it, I used a margin of error of 8 to either side in the top 30.

When you look at Brandt’s top 30 ranked players from 2016 you’ll notice that 8 are construed as being big misses as it relates to being off by more than 8 picks to either side. In short, Brandt hit on 73.33% of his top 30 as it relates to being within 8 picks of where the player was ultimately selected.

Of the 31 players that wound up being drafted in the first round last year, Brandt had all but 6 of them ranked in his top 31. In fact, his biggest first round miss wound up being cornerback Artie Burns, who the Pittsburgh Steelers selected 25th overall. Brandt had Burns ranked 99th overall, which one of his biggest misses in his top 100 ranked players.

Now, what’s a good margin of error for players ranked 31-60? How about 16 to either side, or essentially a half a round leeway? Using that criteria, Brant missed on 11 of his next 30 ranked players for a success rate of 63.3%.

As for players ranked 61-100, I used a margin of error of 32 and Brandt missed on 18 of 40 players for a success rate of 55%.

In summation, of Brandt’s top 100 players in 2016, only 21 of them wound up being selected outside the top 100 selections for a 79% success rate.

I’m certainly open to suggestions as to how to best grade top 100 picks moving forward and I hope to get some feedback in the comments below.

1Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss13MIA-12
2Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State5JAX-3
3Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State4DAL-1
4Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State3SDG1
5Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA36JAX-31
6DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon7SFO-1
7Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State2PHI5
8Jared Goff, QB, California1LAR7
9Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame6BAL3
10Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State8TEN2
11Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville12NOR-1
12Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia9CHI3
13A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama46DET-33
14Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida11TAM3
15Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State20NYJ-5
16Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson33TEN-17
17Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor15CLE2
18Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama41BUF-23
19Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State16DET3
20Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis26DEN-6
21Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama49SEA-28
22Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech30CAR-8
23Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss29ARI-6
24Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson19BUF5
25Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama18IND7
26Keanu Neal, S, Florida17ATL9
27Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame21HOU6
28Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss23MIN5
29Josh Doctson, WR, TCU22WAS7
30Kamalei Correa, DE, Boise State42BAL-12
31William Jackson III, CB, Houston24CIN7
32Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama45TEN-13
33Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas35SDG-2
34Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana48GNB-14
35Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia14OAK21
36Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State32CLE4
37Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State10NYG27
38Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson54MIN-16
39Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma40NYG-1
40Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois44OAK-4
41Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State37KAN4
42Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State43TEN-1
43Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State56CHI-13
44Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA27GNB17
45T.J. Green, S, Clemson57IND-12
46Germain Ifedi, OG, Texas A&M31SEA15
47Jonathan Bullard, DT, Florida72CHI-25
48Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State61NOR-13
49Su’a Cravens, OLB, USC53WAS-4
50Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh55CIN-5
51Darian Thompson, S, Boise State71NYG-20
52Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor122CIN-70
53Devontae Booker, RB, Utah136DEN-83
54Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska67DAL-13
55Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech84WAS-29
56Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State100OAK-44
57Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State47NOR10
58Sean Davis, CB, Maryland58PIT0
59Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia83NYJ-24
60Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford81ATL-21
61Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford28SFO33
62Evan Boehm, C, Missouri128ARI-66
63C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame90SEA-27
64Jacoby Brissett, QB, North Carolina State91NWE-27
65Deion Jones, OLB, LSU52ATL13
66Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky39TAM27
67Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma141CAR-74
68Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech82IND-14
69Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State94SEA-25
70Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State59TAM11
71Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana150CHI-79
72Max Tuerk, C, USC66SDG6
73Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State75OAK-2
74Christian Westerman, OG, Arizona State161CIN-87
75Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State85HOU-10
76Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas116IND-40
77Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State88GNB-11
78Shon Coleman, OT, Auburn76CLE2
79Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Maryland69JAX10
80Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech134BAL-54
81Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State135DAL-54
82Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah111DET-29
83DeAndre Houston-Carson, S, William & Mary185CHI-102
84Isaac Seumalo, OG, Oregon State79PHI5
85Willie Beavers, OT, Western Michigan121MIN-36
86Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State51NYJ35
87Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor38MIA49
88Will Redmond, CB, Mississippi State68SFO20
89Joshua Perry, ILB, Ohio State102SDG-13
90Nick Kwiatkoski, ILB, West Virginia113CHI-23
91Nick Martin, OG, Notre Dame50HOU41
92Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama60NWE32
93Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSU123PIT-30
94Vadal Alexander, OG, LSU234OAK-140
95Adam Gotsis, DT, Georgia Tech63DEN32
96Blake Martinez, ILB, Stanford131GNB-35
97Joe Dahl, OG, Washington State151DET-54
98Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame103JAX-5
99Artie Burns, CB, Miami (Fla.)25PIT74
100Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU192BUF-92

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Let’s not put Artie in Canton just yet.

  • Grizzly Adams

    Pretty cool how he was right on the money with Sean Davis.

    I wonder if you eliminated the QB’s going 1-2 and players dropping because of injuries what his hit percentage would be at. Regardless, pretty crazy it’s as high as it is, given there’s no factor of team needs/scheme fits and whatnot.

  • Petherson Silveira

    Alex, seems to me that he ranked players by their abilities. Some teams drafted for needs and made Brandt miss. We can note that he ranked a lot of players best than teams who were drafting.

  • Grizzly Adams

    Scratch the QB part, just realized they weren’t considered big misses. Apologies.

  • Jeff McNeill

    Who was putting him in canton? This is an exercise to compare his rankings to where they wound up being drafted and not to compare with how good they are. It is very safe to say not one person on this list is a lock for canton.

  • nikgreene

    As far as I know, a list like Brandt’s is not meant to be predictive. Instead it represents his analysis of a player’s value to the team that drafts him. All this exercise tells me is that Brandt and the league front offices’s assessment of player talent is sometimes similar (Sean Davis), and sometimes vastly different (Burns). It would make more sense to look at how these players perform in the league after 4-5 years. If Burns turns into a top CB in the next couple years then Brandt was wrong to rank him 99. But just because Burns was drafted early doesn’t make Brandt wrong now.

  • AustinTxStillerFan

    Byline says Dave, not Alex

  • AustinTxStillerFan

    Some thoughts Dave.
    1) Analyze various draft sites to get an average ranking/deviation by player
    2) compare each sites’ deviation from projection by position (how well did the site evaluate a position?)
    3) compare teams choices to the ranking (how much did particular teams ranking fit with draft sites’ evaluations)
    4) compare teams choices to statistics of the player – how important are various tests/production stats to a team?

  • Jason Vancil

    He probably has more League contacts than just about anyone alive. I would think. He has been doing it a long time.

  • mike

    Has Brandt been doing this for several years? If yes maybe it’d b more useful if u go back 3-4 years and re-rank players based on how they’ve performed and match it up to his list. Just bc he was close or far from where sum1 was drafted in reference to his rankings doesn’t make him right or wrong. Kinda like how they do those re-drafts and go back a few years and mock where guys would go after seeing their development. Either way it’s all good “draft crack” to keep us occupied while this last week goes painfully slow in the anxious anticipation of next thurs.

  • Petherson Silveira

    Sorry Dave. My bad!

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I guess I misunderstood it. I thought it was somehow ranking a players play versus his draft slot.

  • Colly Burgwin

    Keep it simpler. Forget all the “where did he go v where he was predicted to go”. Too many factors to really predict drafted position. Better would be: of his top 100, how many were drafted in the top 100? Forget all the rest.

  • Gregg

    Do you blame Brandt or the Steelers for the Artie Burns miss?

  • Kevin Reich

    He was high on Dak and Jordan Howard. Pretty good.

  • Gautama Om

    I think you did great in the way you graded Dave. Very fair grading , especially later in the top 100.

  • Gautama Om

    Good catch. Brandt is as good as it gets IMO.

    I’ll be looking closely at his list here on out.

  • Gautama Om

    Don’t blame either.

    Brandt was right about Burns if you grade him from the college tape. The Steelers? they are also right because the correctly projected Burns to be a good CB.

  • steelersfan

    Wow he has Derek Rivers at 129…definitely going to be interesting to see where he gets picked

  • steelersfan

    Burns had been mocked in the first round by tons of “experts”….whose to say he wouldn’t have gone some time later in the first or early in the second. There’s no way to say he would have been there when the Steelers picked at whatever spot in the second round they traded down for. I’m always of the opinion that if you like a player you grab him because you can’t say you’ll have another chance.

  • Uncle Rico.

    Peronally, I’ve never liked how they’ve scored these. If I were to say “pick 70 players you think will be in the top 100”, I would think most people who ardently follow the draft could get around 65 right. So these scores really are just a reflection of how correct dratfniks are of picks 71-100. To which, whoopie-doo.

    I think you’re on to the right idea, distance between actual and projected. But I’d drop the positive, just count the difference either side as positive, add it all up and divide by 100. The smaller the number the closer a person is at projecting.

    But still, that’s not really fair either. These top 100 lists reflect who these people think are the top 100 players in the draft. Not the order in which they believe those players will be chosen. Without coming up with a new metric for grading draft picks, I’d say perhaps wait until after the third year of a particular draft class and use the player’s career AV score from PFR, add them all up and divide by 100.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I thought the same thing initially but then read reports that KC, who was 2 picks after us, was targeting Burns. And once he was picked, they traded down. So maybe it was the right call to stay put.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    If the Steelers Don take an edge rusher in round 1, i don’t see him getting past 62

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Surprised that he has guys like Reddick, Obi, Marlon Humphrey, and Derek Rivers as low as they are.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Obi ranked 69th

  • Greg F

    Hey Dave, I like the idea of looking at those who were selected outside the top 100 & how Gil liked them. Like I give him a lot of credit for Jordan Howard, he liked him and seems to be correct about him.

  • Greg F

    Guys like Brandt look at talent, not draft position, and I think that is all that should matter. How many of his top 100 did he hit on, not where they were drafted.