With Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith both being inducted to the Hall of Fame this year on their first ballot, I began to wonder who could do the same next year.
While there wasn't many to choose from, these five players could potentially be Hall of Famers next year, also on their first ballot.
In only 9 seasons, Boulware had 70 sacks. His career best was in 2001, fresh off a super bowl victory with 15. While the tackle was not a real statistic until 2001, he still recorded 197 between 2001-2004. If you average that out over his entire career it equals 591 tackles.
But stats aren't enough with Boulware. He, along with Ray Lewis, helped created one of the NFL's top linebacking cores on one of the NFL's top defenses.
When you think of WR tandems you typically don't look to Jacksonville.
However in the 90's, they had one of the best with Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith.
Jimmy Smith has 862 Rec, 12,287 Yds, and 67 career touchdowns.
While those numbers don't exactly jump out at you, they are pretty solid numbers.
Another impressive thing with Smith, after being cast off by the Cowboys without a single reception, he sent out to prove them wrong and did just that, racking up those numbers in just 11 seasons. Spread those averages out over 20 seasons and he has over 20,000 yards and 100 touchdowns.
Curtis "My Favorite" Martin is one of the NFL's all time leading rushers with 14,101 yards and 90 touchdowns.
His only down fall was, playing for the wrong teams. He never got that elusive ring, but his individual acheivments put him among the ranks of the best all time.
The St. Louis Rams enjoy their running backs. From Steven Jackson to Marshall Faulk all the way back to The Los Angeles Rams days of Eric Dickerson.
However Faulk was a special back. He not only is one of the best running backs ever with 12,279 yards rushing and 100 TD's, he was a reciever. He has 767 receptions for 6,875 yards and 36 TDs. In other words, he was Ray Rice before Ray Rice was.
Starting out with the Colts, Faulk was one of the best young backs in the NFL. It wasn't until him and Kurt Warner led the Rams to the Super Bowl in 2001 that he got that ring though.
As a very versatile player, he, if anyone, deserves to be a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Adversity was the name of his game. Asthma, Weight, Injuries, Bettis went through it all.
Yet he still went out on top, winning the Super Bowl in his last season in his hometown of Detroit.
He has 13,662 career rushing yards and 91 career touchdowns. More importantly, he was one of the greatest clubhouse leaders and charitable players ever to play the game. As THE BEST big back to play this game, Bettis is a sure-fire candidate for the Hall of Fame.
While these five players aren't Canton Bound for sure on their first ballot, they are the best of the 2005 Graduating class.
These players helped make the game what it is today and has contributed something special to the game in their each and own way.