Tuesday, December 30, 2008

NFL Hall of Fame Debates: 1998-2004 Draft Classes

I'm not sure if you saw Part I of this monstrosity covering the draft classes from 1990-1997, but if you have an interest feel free to click the link above and catch up. If you're just joining us well then you are in for a treat, if you are into stats and up for friendly banter.

I recently took a look, a long look at the players who will be up for election to the Hall of Fame either currently, in the near future, and perhaps in the distant future. The players listed range from retired and eligible to those with their first Pro Bowl appearance coming this year, and even some who haven't been to Honolulu yet. And I do mean yet. Again these are players that I can see having their names mentioned either through fan or media suggestion. I do not think they all deserve, but I do think there are some who should get more attention than is most likely going to happen.

We'll pick up where we left off...

Peyton Manning: Active
10 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
2003 & 2004 AP, NEA, Bert Bell MVP
2004 Offensive Player of the Year
2005 Walter Payton Man of the Year
2006 Super Bowl MVP
#5 All-Time Completed Passes (3839)
#7 All-Time Passing Yds (45628)
#4 All-Time Passing TDs (333)
#2 All-Time QB Rating (94.7)
#2 All-Time Passing Yds/G (257.8)
IN - I could keep going. He might even win his 3rd MVP Award this season and he's still got a few more solid years left in him. If Favre actually retires, again, this season, it's not unthinkable that Peyton could erase all of Favre's records in the next 4-5 years, and actually accomplish the feat in less seasons, and with, most likely, less interceptions.

Charles Woodson: Active
5 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
36 INTs
82 PDs
656 Total Tackles
OUT - But his last three seasons in GB have been 3 of his best seasons, a few more like that and he could possibly move to gain some considerable attention.

Fred Taylor: Active
1 Pro Bowl
#16 All-Time Rushing Yds (11271)
62 Rushing TDs
4.6 Yds/Att
7 1,000 yd. seasons
OUT - Fred Taylor has never gotten the credit he deserves, and while I don't necessarily think he is Canton-worthy, he is Canton-Conversation-Worthy, and that probably won't happen. He has silently amassed a pretty terrific career and has never averaged less than 4.6 yds/Carry during his 11 years in the NFL.

Randy Moss: Active
6 Pro Bowls
4x First Team All-Pro
1998 Offensive Rookie of the Year
#15 All-Time Receptions (843)
#9 All-Time Receiving Yds (13201)
#3 All-Time Receiving TDs (135)
#6 All-Time TDs (136)
IN- But it will take a while as more deserving (perhaps not as statistically accomplished) players are elected in. His seasons in Minnesota and Oakland when he decided to quit on his teammates are a glaring obstacle for his election.

Alan Faneca: Active
8 Pro Bowls
5x First Team All-Pro
IN - He is one of the Best Lineman in the game today, or ever. Of course, that would mean electing an Offensive Lineman which the voters don't seem to enjoy doing.

Olin Kreutz: Active
6 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
OUT - Sadly to say, Olin is one of my favorites and might be one of the dirtiest players in the game, and I mean that in a good way. He's doesn't take cheap shots, no one will ever accuse him of being an eye gouger at the bottom of the pile, he just knows, and uses, all of the good little lineman tricks at his disposal. He's been the anchor of the Bears for the last 10 years and has started the last 135 games he has appeared in since taking over the Starting Center spot at the end of his Rookie Season.

Hines Ward: Active
4 Pro Bowls
#22 All-Time Receptions (800)
72 Receiving TDs
OUT - His numbers just aren't good enough, it would take someone to look at the fact that he was able to do that in A) Run First, Run Often Pittsburgh and 2) with QBs like Kordell Stewart, Mike Tomczak, Kent Graham, Tommy Maddox, and Charlie Batch.

London Fletcher: Active
28 Sacks
14 INTs
11 Forced Fumbles
1343 Tackles
OUT - Has silently put together a very, very solid career never gaining enough recognition playing at the same time as other LBs like Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, etc.

Pat Tillman: Retired (Eligible since '07)
2.5 Sacks
3 INTs
3 Forced Fumbles
331 Solo Tackles
1 Silver Star
1 Purple Heart
IN - In my book he was blossoming into one of the top Safeties in the game. Take a look at his 2000 stats. Not only that but he turned down bigger contracts out of loyalty to the, of all teams, Arizona Cardinals. He was a great player and an even better man.

Donovan McNabb: Active
5 Pro Bowls
194 Passing TDs
26 Rushing TDs
Too Close To Call - He's got a few more years left to pile up some more stats. At first glance he doesn't have the most impressive numbers but while he might not have as many TD passes as Favre and Manning, he also has a LOT less Turnovers. Donovan protects the ball very well with only 90 INTs in 10 seasons. Comparing him to the "First Ballot Lock" Brett Favre, in his first 6 full seasons Favre threw for 182 TDs and 93 INTs. And Manning amassed 138 TDs/100 INTs in his first 5 seasons. It seems like Donovan's got better numbers. But Favre and Manning both have the ring that has evaded McNabb.

Edgerrin James: Active
4 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
1999 Offensive Rookie of the Year
#8 All-Time in Carries (2982)
#11 All-Time in Rushing Yds (12121)
91 TDs
Too Close to Call - Edge still has a few more seasons left in him, but it looks like he's not the #1 option in AZ and who knows who will pick him up and how much juice he's got left. If he cracks the Top Ten in Rushing Yds. he'll get some attention.

Torry Holt: Active
7 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
#11 All-Time Receptions (869)
#14 All-Time Receiving Yds (12660)
OUT - But barely, 2008 was the first time since his rookie season that he didn't break the 1100 yard mark for receiving. Based on the climate in St. Louis, I think sub 1000 yard seasons are on the horizon for Holt, which will keep him out.

Champ Bailey: Active
8 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
43 INTs
124 PDs
672 Total Tackles
OUT - Despite pretty decent numbers, the biggest thing that Champ Bailey brings to the table is the fact that QBs just don't throw in his direction anymore. That's a stat that can't be kept. He's still one of the best DB's to play the game.

Joey Porter: Active
4 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
83 Sacks
12 INTs
45 PDs
22 Forced Fumbles
565 Total Tackles
On the Fence - Before this season I would have said Out, but he had quite the resurgence in 2008 amassing 17.5 sacks and 4 Forced Fumbles. A couple more seasons like that and he could very well be heading to Canton

Brian Urlacher: Active
6 Pro Bowls
4x First Team All-Pro
2000 Defensive Rookie of the Year
2005 Defensive Player of the Year
37.5 Sacks
17 INTs
62 PDs
1062 Total Tackles
IN - Tentatively, he was having a lock of a Hall of Fame career to continue the Bears MLB tradition but the past couple seasons he has had to deal with a handful of issues that have hurt his numbers and his play. Inconsistancy on the Defensive Line hurts, terrible offenses with many turnovers keeps the D on the field longer and in such tires them out. As well as an off-season back surgery. A return to perennial Pro Bowl form will be key in getting him over the hump.

Shaun Alexander: Inactive/Unretired (Eligible 2014)
3 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
2005 Offensive Player of the Year
2005 AP, PFWA, NEA, Bert Bell MVP
9453 Rushing Yds
#7 All-Time Rushing TDs (100)
#13 All-Time Offensive TDs (112)
OUT - He would need 2009 to be a Comeback Player of the Year type season followed by a couple of Pro Bowls to get back into consideration for Canton. Between 2001-2005 he seemed like a sure thing Pro Bowler as he gained over 7500 yds in those 5 seasons with 87 rushing TDs, 98 Total. But injuries and a depleted Seattle Offensive Line ended his production.

Tom Brady: Active
4 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
2001 Super Bowl MVP
2003 Super Bowl MVP
2007 AP, PFWA, NEA, Bert Bell MVP
2007 AP Offensive Player of the Year
#51 All-Time Passing Yds. (26446 )
#28 All-Time Passing TDs (197)
Tied #5 All-Time QB Rating (92.9)
Too Close to Call - His career path looks eerily similar to that of Shaun Alexander. With reports that Brady might not be ready for 2009 he might wind up be one of those guys who hangs out on the finalist ballot every year without making it to Canton. 3 Super Bowl Wins is hard to argue against, but the numbers just aren't there, yet.

LaDainian Tomlinson: Active
5 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
2006 AP, NEA, PFWA, Bert Bell MVP
2006 Offensive Player of the Year
2006 Walter Payton Man of the Year
#14 All-Time Rushing Yds (11760)
#2 All-Time Rushing TDs (126)
#4 All-Time Rushing Yds/G (92.6)
#4 All-Time in Total TDs (141)
7 Passing TDs
IN - Considering that everyone thinks he had a bad 2008 season and he managed only 1110 yds and 11 rushing TDs. He's also only got 25 fumbles in his career, 18 lost. He's been very durable and is between 4-6 seasons from passing Emmitt Smith for All-Time Leading rusher, barring injury.

Steve Hutchinson: Active
6 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
IN - If Lineman were well respected and represented Hutchinson would be well on his way to a Hall of Fame bust. Ask Adrian Peterson and Shaun Alexander what they think of Hutchinson. It's no coincidence that between 2001 and 2005 Shuan Alexander was gaining so many yds and TDs and that Hutchinson was his Left Guard for 2001-2005.

Drew Brees: Active
3 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
2006 Walter Payton Man of the Year
#53 All-Time in Passing Yds (26258)
#53 All-Time Passing TDs (168)
Career 63.9% Completion % (#5 All-Time)
On the Fence - He's about 3-4 years from cracking the Top Ten All-Time in Passing Yds and 4-5 years from cracking the Top Ten in TDs. If he were with a better team and had a chance at a Super Bowl ring his stock would improve.

Antonio Pierce: Active
1 Pro Bowl
7 INTs
40 PDs
7 Forced Fumbles
9 Fumble Recoveries
627 Total Tackles
OUT - For Now, his numbers don't look that great for an 8 year Vet, but then you look closer and realize the Redskins never used him. He has compiled the majority of his stats over the last 5 seasons. 2008 was a little bit of a down year, if he can turn it back on and get a few more 100+ Tackle seasons with a few more Turnovers and maybe another Super Bowl Ring, he could be considered a potential Hall of Famer.

Julius Peppers: Active
4 Pro Bowls
2x First Team All-Pro
2002 Defensive Rookie of the Year
70.5 Sacks
4 INTs
41 PDs
25 Forced Fumbles
343 Tackles
OUT - Though he has been a very, very good football player and with the exception of his Sophomore Slump (7) and the 2007 oddity (2.5) he has had double digit sacks in each season. It remains to be seen if his positive drug test from his rookie season will affect the voting, but it should be noted he was busted for ephedra, a banned weight loss drug, not anabolic steroids.

Quentin Jammer: Active
13 INTs
99 PDs
4 Forced Fumbles
499 Total Tackles
OUT - see Champ Bailey. Quentin Jammer is just as good without any of the recognition.

Ed Reed: Active
5 Pro Bowls
3x First Team All-Pro
2004 Defensive Player of the Year
43 INTs
91 PDs
6 Forced Fumbles
411 Total Tackles
#11 All-Time Non-Offensive TDs (11)
106 & 107 yd. INT Returns
IN - If he can keep up at this pace he will move up in the record books, he needs 10 to pass Deion Sanders, 11 to pass Darrell Green, and 15 to crack the Top Ten and seeing how he's had more than 5 in 6/7 seasons, I'd say that should be pretty soon.

Brian Westbrook: Active
2 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
66 Total TDs (#92)
10315 All-Purpose Yds
On the Fence - Considering he's averaging about 2000 All Purpose Yds/Season, a 10 year career would put him ahead of Tim Brown, 12 years and he would take over the #1 spot. That's not that far fetched, barring major injuries and missed game time, he will be in the Hall and own a few records.

Carson Palmer: Active
2 Pro Bowls
#102 All-Time Completions (1380)
#115 All-Time Passing Yds (15630)
#104 All-Time Passing TDs (107)
#6 All-Time QB Rating (63.7%)
Too Close to Call - Injuries might wind up taking their toll on the former Heisman Winner. If he is able to keep up his pace he still has an outside shot at ending his career in the Top Ten to Fifteen in Passing Yds, Completions, and TDs. He has already completely re-written the Bengals record books, sorry Boomer.

Andre Johnson: Active
3 Pro Bowls
#116 All-Time Receptions (486)
#137 All-Time Receiving Yds (137)
33 TDs
Too Early - He had a major breakout season in 2008, and that's saying something for a guy going to his 3rd Pro Bowl. A lot of his success ultimately relies on Teammates and QBs. He plays for the Texans and his QB is Matt Schaub so.....

Troy Polamalu: Active
5 Pro Bowls
1 First Team All-Pro
7 Sacks
17 INTs
61 PDs
7 Forced Fumbles
435 Total Tackles
IN - A very good player. He's already got the ring and the media and public love him, which will translate well when it comes to voting in 8-10 years.

Anquan Boldin: Active
3 Pro Bowls
2003 Offensive Rookie of the Year
#105 All-Time Receptions (502)
#129 All-Time Receiving Yds (129)
#1 All-Time Receiving Yds/G (81.2)
On the Fence - Much like Andre Johnson team will have something to do with this. Not to mention Larry Fitzgerald seems to be getting a slight majority of the catches, yds, and TDs between the two.

Lance Briggs: Active
4 Pro Bowls
1x First Team All-Pro
6 Sacks
9 INTs
45 PDs
8 Forced Fumbles
6 Fumble Recoveries
4 Defensive TDs
656 Total Tackles
Too Early - My bias might be coming out here (Double Whammy Arizona Alum and Current Bear) but Lance has avoided the injury bug and has had over 100 Tackles in each of the last 5 seasons (out of 6) and has had at least 3 turnovers to his credit (INT, FF, FR) in the last 4 seasons. If he keeps up at this pace you could expect his numbers to be more than double his current numbers which would be staggering.

Tony Romo: Active
2 Pro Bowls
#147 All-Time Passing yds (10562)
#151 All-Time Completions (831)
#130 All-Time Passing TDs (81)
#2 All-Time QB Rating (94.7)
#4 All-Time Yds/Att (8.1)
#1 All-Time Net Yds/Att (7.39)
#7 All-Time Completion % (63.6%)
IN - I know it's crazy, but he will win a big game eventually, it's not only on Romo, though he has choked plenty. But he's already moving up in the record books after only 2.5 season. He's got great passing numbers and he has been known to scramble a little bit. I think he's got a legitimate shot at over 50,000 passing yds in his career.

Antonio Gates: Active
5 Pro Bowls
3 First Team All-Pro
5006 yds Receiving
#89 All-Time TD Receptions (51)
IN - He's on pace to shatter Tony Gonzalez's TE Records. When all is said and done, Gates should hold every single TE receiving record, and he's not a bad blocker either.

Eli Manning: Active
1 Pro Bowl
#124 All-Time Passing Yds (14623)
#116 All-Time Completions (1276)
#115 Passing TDs (98)
OUT - He will put up good numbers throughout his career, he already has the Super Bowl Ring, unless he wins a few more rings (3+) you can't put him in the Hall. He is a good QB. In line with guys like Phil Simms. He will probably pass Simms in the Giant Record books if he hangs around awhile. He is and has been improving over the years so it's not out of the question to think that one day he'll be on the ballot, but as of right now, I don't think so.

Larry Fitzgerald: Active
3 Pro Bowls
426 Receptions
46 Receiving TDs
On the Fence - Much like Q he will suffer for playing on the Cardinals. With the influx in recent years of more passing for offenses more receivers are putting up higher numbers and Super Bowl wins will always be an equalizer, does anyone but Matt Randle think Cardinals are ever going to win a Super Bowl?

Philip Rivers: Active
1 Pro Bowl
#146 All-Time Passing Yds (10697)
#135 All-Time Passing TDs (78)
#5 All-Time QB Rating (92.9)
Too Early - Rivers has done well in his 5 years especially considering he spent his first two on the pine behind (possible) Hall of Famer Drew Brees. Rivers is a competant safe passer and a exceptionally emotional leader. The window on San Diego is closing fast, and as long as Norvell is running things it doesn't look good for the Superchargers. A couple more years and we'll get a good read on the future of Philip.

Michael Turner: Active
1 Pro Bowl
Too Early - I could list his stats but he is a unique case of a secondary runner for the first part of his career. He played alongside and behidn LaDainian Tomlinson and wasn't able to make any real name for himself. Atlanta gave him a Pro Bowl season, first of many I assume. He was nealy unstoppable as he ran for almost 1700 yds and 17 TDs, that's over 400 yds more than in his previous 4 seasons combined, he also had 11 more TDs in year 5 than in the first 4 combined. If he can continue at this pace (1500/15) he could be mentioned in Hall of Fame talks and record books down the road.

By my count that leaves 31 players who should be entering into Canton in the next 15 years, 9 who need some breaks (MVP, Super Bowl, Records, etc), 4 who have the potential to squeak in and 32 who might get on the ballot a few times but chances are (stats, no Super Bowl, bad Team, Lineman, Special Teamer, etc) they won't be in the hall without a major public uprising.


Matt Randle "el" said...

I might be the only one but I will always believe.

Anonymous said...

Like your post. I hate the Patriots but Brady out and Romo in is just crazy.