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The following players are just off the list. Some because I want to see how they bounce back from injury or a down year, some because of lack of experience, and some because, while they have skill, they're stuck in a bad situation that might hurt their Hall chances.
As a Jets fan, I love Revis, even if he's playing elsewhere. There are two hesitations I have about him. First, how does he come back from his knee injury? While he had a pair of exceptional seasons, he's still a young player who hasn't cemented his place in history yet.
We've seen corners fall off a cliff (Nnamdi Asomugha, anyone?), so if he can't be who he was, I don't know if the Hall awaits him. Secondly, and this is a pet peeve of mine, but he has always been an inconsistent tackler. A guy with who's played for six (really five and three games) years, I'd like for him to have a complete game, and Revis is not as willing in delivering a hit or wrapping up a ball-carrier as I would like.
Owens has the skill and the numbers. However, I can't help but wonder if his off-the-field nonsense will keep him out of the Hall of Fame. It shouldn't, but we've seen stuff like that hurt guys before. So he's not a lock.
Like Larry Fitzgerald, he has been stuck in nowheresville, and yet he produces 1,000-yard seasons. However, for a running back, the 1,000-yard mark isn't all that impressive and some of his early injuries might hurt him. A big season with the Falcons could help his case, but I think in the end he will be viewed as a good but not special player.
Welker might be seen as a compiler who was made more than he really was by Tom Brady. Of course, going from Brady to Peyton Manning isn't a downgrade, but he needs to stand out from among the group of talented receivers already in Denver.
Gates is a tremendously gifted athlete who cannot stay on the field anymore. His early career numbers might get him in, but I think that voters will see the slow collapse of the last three years and wonder "what if?" The struggles of the offense aren't helping, but he's not transcending them either—something that would have helped him out.
I like Mangold a lot, but centers don't always get Hall love and Mangold has had some up-and-down seasons. That's partially because of the supporting cast, but it's also on him.
Smith has had a great couple of years with the arrival of Cam Newton, but it's really hard to stand out and find your way into the Hall as a wide receiver unless you are very special (like Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson). Given the lack of talent surrounding him in his career, his numbers are impressive. However, in a world where Cris Carter was waiting for years to get in, Steve Smith may never see the inside of the building.
Johnson has great numbers (most of the time), but like Smith, he isn't a guy who stands out as much as those of us who play fantasy football feel he does. Last season he bounced back from an injury-plagued patch, so perhaps another season or two might change my mind. But again, it's tough and crowded to get into the Hall as a receiver, and I'm not sure if Johnson stands out enough.
Who'd I miss? I know you think I missed someone. Let me know down in the comments.
Andrew Garda is the former NFC North Lead Writer and a current NFL analyst and video personality for Bleacher Report. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys and the NFL writer at CheeseheadTV.com. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.