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Gil Brandt’s latest head-scratcher: All-time CB list contains five current and former Patriots

At 84, Gil Brandt harnesses the power of summer hot takes.

NFL: New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Gil Brandt is on fire.

For those who are unfamiliar, Gil Brandt has been evaluating college and professional football players since the Eisenhower administration. He was credited with developing a scouting system that helped build the successful Cowboys teams of the 1970’s. There simply aren’t many individuals who are still around the game today who have seen as much NFL football as he has.

However, Brandt, now a Senior Analyst for, has had himself quite a month. His personal rankings of the greatest players of all time for each position have generated more questions than debate.

The complete absence of context is the major issue with Brandt’s rankings. Each piece is just a vertical scrolling slide show with a picture of each player, a statistic or two, and the number of Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams the player made. There isn’t even an introductory paragraph to provide any insight into the criteria used to create the rankings.

Perhaps such an opening passage could have shed some light upon the absolutely ridiculous inclusion of Malcolm Butler to Monday’s list of top 31 cornerbacks in NFL history.

That’s right. Brandt ranked Malcolm Butler the 20th greatest cornerback in the history of the National Football League — sandwiching him in between Pro Football Hall of Fame members Roger Wehrli and Dick LeBeau, who combined for 102 career interceptions.

The other former Patriots to make Brandt’s list:

  • Aqib Talib - #23
  • Ty Law - #18
  • Darrelle Revis - #16
  • Mike Haynes - #3

Washington’s Josh Norman (30th), Arizona’s Patrick Peterson (17th), and Seattle’s Richard Sherman (9th) were the other active NFL players to be included in the ranking.

Between these active players making the list, Malcolm Butler being ranked the 20th best cornerback in history, and J.J. Watt being ranked the 4th best defensive lineman of all time last week, one begins to wonder if perhaps Brandt’s interns are making last minute edits before uploading Brandt’s lists to

Follow Brian Phillips on Twitter - @BPhillips_PP