Gil Brandt dropped his yearly Hot 150 draft prospect rankings. What do his rankings mean for the Steelers’ favorite prospects?
On April 13, NFL analyst Gil Brandt dropped his yearly “Hot 150”, his personal top 150 NFL draft prospects for the upcoming draft. While not a mock draft, Brandt has done an excellent job in the past of ranking prospects, and his rankings typically correlate pretty well to the value the NFL teams place on these teams. What does this mean for the Steelers though?
Well, for starters, his 2019 Hot 150 included all of the 32 first-round picks. Out of his first 32 picks (essentially his first-round graded prospects), 24 of them ended up being selected in the first round. Outside of Darnell Savage, whom Brandt ranked at 87, the latest first-rounder on his ranking was Tytus Howard (ranked at 50th overall).
Again, this isn’t a mock draft; Brandt doesn’t claim this is where players will go akin to a mock draft, instead he is saying this is where the value of these players roughly is. This list should give fans a decent idea of where some of their favorite players should go.
While there is little impact on the Steelers, interesting to note is that there are three QBs in his top five, at least indicating that the QBs should be going early and often. After Jordan Love (ranked at 21 overall), the next QB is Jake Fromm at 52 followed right behind by Jalen Hurts at 53. While the need at QB is debatable, Fromm and Hurts may at least be on the board at pick 49.
OL is heavily riddled in his top 40 players, with names like Ezra Cleveland (23rd overall), Josh Jones (29th), Matt Hennessy (34th), Isaiah Wilson (35th), and Cesar Ruiz (47th) all come out ahead of where the Steelers pick. While Cleveland has been a rising name amongst Steelers mock drafts, this ranking points to him having to fall to be available at pick 49. Even more interesting is that he ranks Hennessy over Ruiz. While Hennessy has some good tape, his value has seemed to float around as a third-round option. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes.
The top TE on Brandt’s board comes in at 39th overall and is shockingly Albert Okwuegbunam from Missouri. Most see Okwuegbunam as day three pick due to his boom or bust potential, yet Brandt sees the athletic talent going earlier. Cole Kmet comes off at 54, while Adam Trautman is sitting at 112. It’ll be interesting to see how these players ultimately go off the board.
Notable players ranked after 49th is Antoine Winfield (56th overall), Josh Uche (75th), Curtis Weaver (76th), and Terrell Lewis (95th). Quite frankly if Winfield is available at 49 (like he should be based on these rankings), it would be hard for the Steelers to pass on him. He is youthful, has NFL bloodlines, and can play almost any position in the secondary. As well, some of the popular LB options for the Steelers are ranked as third-round guys and maybe a reach at pick 49.
What about pick 49? Brandt has Baylor WR Denzel Mims there, and quite frankly it would be almost impossible to pass on him. He has great size and speed, even if his route tree is a little underwhelming. That said, he has dominated at every phase during this pre-draft process and has the upside of becoming a starting option at WR.
Yes, Brandt will have a few misses like he does every year, but overall look to his rankings to get an idea of where these prospects will go. While some popular options now seem out of reach, others have become more realistic possibilities for the Steelers. When formulating your final mock drafts, keep Brandt’s listing on the back of your mind to find players’ values.