I’m guessing that Gil Brandt, 83, probably couldn’t have thought of many uses for a gas mask during his college days at the University of Wisconsin.
Not even as a self-preservation device to be used during Vietnam protests rocked with tear gas, since Brandt finished up with school long before any of that unrest hit U.S. campuses.
With that in mind, it’s easier to figure why the former Dallas Cowboys superscout might leave Laremy Tunsil off his list of instant-impact rookies from the 2016 NFL draft. In a column written for NFL.com, the Miami Dolphins’ first-round draft pick didn’t make Brandt’s top 11, though he did qualify under the category of “also considered.”
That’s a backhanded compliment at best for a bruising offensive tackle once considered the best player available in the draft. Matter of fact, the Dolphins still consider Tunsil to be pretty close to that. They were thrilled to get the kid with the 13th overall pick, draft-night bong video and all.
Can’t blame Brandt, though, for a judgment that is generational in nature. He’s always been great with me during Super Bowl media sessions. Thoughtful and kind. Truth is, his opinions are better than most because they’re not based solely on a data stream of physical measurements and analytics.
If he doesn’t trust Tunsil enough to project him as a Day 1 starter for Miami, it’s probably because Brandt doesn’t get the guy at all, what he’s thinking, what he’s willing to risk, what, if anything, will make him a great teammate and not just a great athlete.
Anybody who says that kind of skepticism is dead wrong is viewing this thing in the most convenient light. It’s wanting the Dolphins to win. It’s dismissing any other outcome as irrational.
As for Dolphins coach Adam Gase and general manager Chris Grier, each of whom felt comfortable with Tunsil’s immature decisions as a college student, Brandt is old enough to be a grandfather to each of them. They probably would disagree on a lot of things.
For now, let’s take a look at Gil’s list and file it away for later examination, in October or so.
You’ll notice that five of the 11 players he names weren’t taken in the first round. He’s looking at particular situations and particular teams, but he’s also looking at what players have told us about themselves already. With all the guessing that goes on this time of year, there’s a lot of straightforward information that experts and fans alike just choose to ignore.
Gil Brandt’s alphabetical list of 2016 draftees most likely to make immediate impacts
Roberto Aguayo K Tampa Bay 2nd rd
Corey Coleman WR Cleveland 1st rd
Ezekiel Elliott RB Dallas 1st rd
Tyler Ervin RB Houston 4th rd
Joshua Garnett G San Francisco 1st rd
Temarrick Hemingway TE Los Angeles 6th rd
Ryan Kelly C Indianapolis 1st rd
Braxton Miller WR Houston 3rd rd
Keanu Neal S Atlanta 1st rd
Reggie Ragland LB Buffalo 2nd rd
Laquon Treadwell WR Minnesota 1st rd