Having been an NFL executive for over 30 years, Gil Brandt has seen a thing or two in football. Actually, quite more than a thing or two.
Brandt took his first NFL executive job more than a decade before the first Super Bowl. One will be hard pressed to find a more knowledge source of the game, so when the former executive ranks the greatest players ever, fans should stop and listen.
This week, Brandt released a list of the greatest cornerbacks of all-time and ranked former Florida State defensive back Deion Sanders as No. 1.
After making the All-American team for the Seminoles in 1987 and 1988, Sanders went fifth overall in the 1989 NFL Draft. In his 17-year career, Sanders made eight first-team All Pros and eight Pro Bowls. From 1992-98, Sanders failed to make the All-Pro team just once, and in 1994, he won the Defensive Player of the Year.
He finished his career with 53 interceptions, which is tied for 24th all-time. Sanders’ most impressive mark of his career, though, was his 19 return touchdowns. That stood as the most-ever until Devin Hester broke the mark in 2014.
Interestingly, Brandt ranked Rod Woodson, Sanders’ biggest cornerback rival in the 1990’s, No. 2 on the list. Woodson made 11 Pro Bowls and six first-team All-Pro teams. He also had 71 interceptions, 17 return touchdowns, which is the third-most ever, and won the 1993 Defensive Player of the Year award.
Brandt included two other players who once played for a program now in the ACC on his list. Pittsburgh’s Darrelle Revis and Virginia’s Ronde Barber were ranked 16th and 22nd, respectively. Revis, though, didn’t play in the ACC since Pittsburgh didn’t move out of the Big East until 2013.
Check out Brandt’s full list here.