NFL: Today’s Hall of Famers

During the Panthers-Falcons game this week (which I kind of enjoyed — I thought both teams played a decent game), it popped into my head that I can’t think of a dominating, Hall-of-Fame linebacker in the league right now. Which got me thinking of the other positions.

I’m not talking about players who, if their careers keep going a while and they maintain something close to their level of excellence, will make the Hall. I’m talking about player who, if they retire today, are either strong candidates for the Hall or pretty much in.

Here’s what I came up with, by position group. Who am I missing, or who am I wrong on? I put questions marks next to the names I would strongly consider, but don’t really know.

Quarterbacks: Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger

Receivers and tight ends: Deandre Hopkins?, Rob Gronkowski, Larry Fitzgerald, Jason Witten

Running backs:

Defensive linemen: J.J. Watt

Linebackers: Vonn Miller?

Defensive backs: Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas?

Offensive linemen: Tyron Smith?

Special teams:

3 thoughts on “NFL: Today’s Hall of Famers

  1. I almost put David Bakhtiari with a question mark, but what do I truly know about offensive linemen? Nothing.

    I don’t know if I would vote Witten in, but he’s going to get in because he was a Cowboy. That’s sort of one of the tie-breakers, right? Anyway he’s going in wearing a Raiders jersey, so I’m okay with it.

    Tony Kornheiser has said many times that Sebastian Jankikowski (not active) and Stephen Gostkowski (active) are going in. I simply don’t think he knows what he’s saying. Kickers and punters just don’t get in except in very extraordinary cases. Adam Vinatieri is the only guy I can think of in recent years who has a strong chance.

    The brevity of this list makes sense. We often don’t know until near the end of a player’s career if he is going into the Hall, and there are far more recently retired players than there are active players close to the ends of their careers. The list would be quite a bit longer if we included players who retired within the past five years.

  2. Cool topic.

    LB: I’d say Bobby Wagner has to be considered

    Running backs: AP, Frank Gore?

    What’s interesting about AP is that, while he’s clearly diminished in ability, he’s still remarkably productive. He’s definitely not like great backs who played way past their prime. Speaking of which, Gore is past his prime, and he deserves consideration–but he would be like Curtis Martin and Jerome Bettis. Do you guys think that at Gore’s best, he was as good as those two? I’m not sure.

    Also, while we’re on Gore, I kinda feel like Jason Witten is the TE version of Bettis, Martin, and Gore.

    Aaron Donald would be someone to be considered as well.

    Alex Mack might be someone as well, although, like you, I don’t know anything about O-linemen.

  3. Gore and Witten are definitely on the border with guys like Bettis and Martin. He’s going to get votes but he’s not getting in. And no, I don’t think either Bettis or Gore was better than Martin at his best. I wouldn’t vote for Witten but he’s definitely getting in.

    Aaron Donald would have six seasons if he retired today. He’ll have seven seasons if he retires at the end of 2020. I think he’d get a lot of votes. I think if he finishes this year he has a good shot; if he finishes one more he’s as good as in.

    I did consider Bobby Wagner but didn’t put him on the list. I guess you’re right though. Five times first-team All Pro and one time second team, in eight seasons.

    Totally missed Adrian Peterson. He’s getting in. Yay, we have someone for the running backs.

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