One Future Hall of Famer From Every NFL Team By Billy Schick
(Picture Credit: Sports Gambling Podcast)
Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald
The ageless wonder. Larry Legend turns 37 this August and is still racking up big numbers. He is undoubtedly the greatest player in Cardinals’ history and has spent his entire 17-year career in Arizona. He ranks second all-time in receptions (1,378) and receiving yards (17,083). He ranks sixth all-time in touchdowns with 120, and amazingly has more career tackles (39) than drops (29). In addition, he is one of the greatest playoff performers in sports history, as he set a single postseason record with 30 receptions, 546 yards, and 7 touchdowns in 2008. Not to mention, Fitz caught a go-ahead 64 yard touchdown in the final 3 minutes of Super Bowl XLIII against the Steelers and ran 75 yards through the heart of the Packers in the 2015 divisional round to set up his overtime winner moments later. What more can you ask from Larry Legend?
Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones
The best receiver in the NFL right now could end up as the greatest receiver of all time. The seven time pro-bowler puts up over 1400 yards year after year, and is only 31. Undoubtedly the greatest Dirty Bird of all time, Julio helps Atlanta’s offense stay among the league’s best every season. Like Larry Fitzgerald, Jones has hands like glue, and always shows up in the postseason. It’s safe to say that if Jones continues to rack up the stats, he will most certainly end up as a first ballot hall of famer.
Baltimore Ravens: Justin Tucker
Seriously? A kicker made this list! Yes. Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history with a field goal percentage of 90.8% and became the fastest kicker to score 1,000 points in 2019. Over the course of his career, Mr. Automatic has kicked 15 game winners, proving that he is always reliable in the clutch, no matter the conditions (see his game winners against the Broncos in 2012 and the 49ers in 2019). Currently, Morten Anderson is the only kicker in the hall of fame, with Adam Vinateri soon to follow. If Tucker keeps doing his thing, expect him to be the third kicking specialist to put on the golden jacket.
Buffalo Bills: Tre’Davious White
Entering his fourth year in the league, White has already established himself as one of the best corners in the league. He was a first-team all-pro in 2019 with 17 passes deflected and a league-high 6 interceptions. He is incredible in press-man coverage as he consistently jams receivers at the line of scrimmage, and didn’t give up a single touchdown last season. Since White entered the league in 2017, the Bills have had one of the NFL’s best pass defenses, and expect them to stay among the top for the foreseeable future.
Carolina Panthers: Christian Mccaffrey
Mccaffery’s 2019 stats: 1,387 rushing yards, 1,005 receiving yards, 19 touchdowns. As a running back, he had 116 receptions, setting a new record. Whose record did he break? His own, of course, which he set in 2018. The guy is a generational talent. He can line up as a running back, receiver, and quarterback in occasional trick plays (yep, he can throw too). CMC can do it all, and even though he is only entering his fourth year in the league, most football fans have already marked him down as a future first ballot hall of famer.
Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green
From 2011 to 2017, A.J. Green was a well-respected top five receiver in the league. Green went to seven straight pro bowls and was named to second-team all-pro three times. However, the past two years have not been the same, as Green appeared in only nine games in 2018 and missed the entire 2019 season with torn ligaments in his ankle. If Green is to return to his pro bowl self in years to come, he will have to do it with a new quarterback. In all seven of his pro bowl seasons, Green had Andy Dalton throwing him the ball, but it is a new era of Bengals football. Joe Burrow, who set collegiate records at LSU, is the future of the franchise. Burrow has great weapons outside of Green, as Tyler Boyd has blossomed into a reliable number two receiver along with a 1,000 yard back in Joe Mixon.
Expect Burrow to have a long career in Cincy as he will help A.J. Green get to three more pro bowls and cement the Bengal legend’s place in Canton.
Chicago Bears: Khalil Mack
On September 1, 2018, the Bears traded for Khalil Mack. One week later, he made his Bears debut against the Packers. 2 sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a pick-six. It was a debut for the ages that completely changed football in Chicago. Thanks to Mack, the Bears had the league’s number one ranked defense in 2018, and if not for poor quarterback play in Mitch Trubisky and a double-doink from Cody Parkey, they would have likely won the Super Bowl. In 2019, Mack had another great year and helped the Bears finish as the NFL’s fourth best defense. Not many teams have an outside linebacker as their face of the franchise. Khalil Mack is just different. Entering his seventh year in the league, the 29-year-old is already a 5-time pro-bowler and 3-time first-team all-pro. He won Defensive Player of the Year 2016, and is a member of the NFL 2010s All Decade Team. The scary thing is that Mack is in his prime at 29, so his best may be yet to come. It’s safe to say that if Mack were to retire tomorrow, he would probably end up in Canton.
Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett
This was a tough one, but assuming that Garrett has gotten all his foolish actions out of the way, he is likely Canton bound. Enough said, the man knows how to get to the quarterback. In only 37 games, Garrett has 30.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles. In his only season in which he played all 16 games, he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl and was named to second-team all-pro. If the former number one overall pick can stop picking fights and avoid the injury bug, many double digit sack seasons are soon to come. At only 24, Garrett has many good years ahead of him. If he keeps his actions in check, don’t be surprised if he ends up as one of the best defensive ends of all time.
Dallas Cowboys: Zack Martin
In the 2010s, the Cowboys had one of if not the best offensive line in football year after year. This consistency up front was largely due to great play at the guard position by Zack Martin. Since entering the league in 2014, Martin has made the Pro Bowl in all six of his seasons. He is a four-time first-team all-pro, a two-time second-team all-pro, and a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team. In 2018 he signed a six-year, $84 million contract extension with Dallas, making him the highest paid guard in all of football. According to PFF, he is the best run-blocking guard in the league and has helped the Cowboys have a 1,000 yard running rusher in five of the last six seasons. At 29, Martin has only missed two games in his career and if he continues to stay healthy, expect the Cowboys to have a top rushing attack for many years to come. This one was easy. Zack Martin is Canton bound.
Denver Broncos: Von Miller
Since Miller entered the league in 2011, the Broncos have boasted one of the league’s most vaunted defenses. In nine seasons, Miller has been named to 8 pro bowls, 3 first-team all-pros, and 4 second-team all-pros. He won the Butkus Awar
d in 2012 and is a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team. Miller’s biggest accolade: a Super Bowl 50 MVP. In a defensive performance for the ages, Miller and the heavy underdog Broncos held Cam Newton and the Panthers top-ranked offense to only 10 points. Miller finished with 6 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries, and 2 forced fumbles, the first which was recovered for a touchdown in the first quarter, and the second which sealed the game late in the fourth quarter. They say defense wins championships, and Miller and his 2015 Broncos defense truly lived up to that phrase as they carried a horrific offense led by a washed Peyton Manning and inconsistent Brock Osweiler all the way to the promised land. There’s a good chance that Von Miller ends up as the greatest outside linebacker in NFL history, and no doubt that he gets his seat in Canton.
Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford
2020 will be Matthew Stafford’s twelfth year as the Lions quarterback. He has provided the stability at the quarterback position that the Lions have longed for for many years. However, the odds are against him. Stafford has been named to only one Pro Bowl, and boasts no places on an NFL first or second-team. He has zero playoff wins, and with Lions in a full-on rebuild right now, there’s a chance he might never get back to the postseason. The good thing about Stafford is that he is a big numbers guy. He is one of five quarterbacks to throw for 5,000 yards in a season, and is the only quarterback to ever complete at least 60 percent of his passes in every game of a season. Stafford boasts the record for most consecutive 350-yard passing games, and is the fastest to pass for 5,000, 20,000, 25,000, and 30,000 yards. On the all-time leaderboard, Stafford ranks eighteenth in passing yards and nineteenth in passing touchdowns. He turns 33 in February, so if he can hang around for at least five more seasons and climb up the leaderboard, his chances of ending up in Canton could increase drastically. Although Stafford has never been on a part of a good team, he is one of the greatest statistical quarterbacks in NFL history, and therefore deserves a golden jacket.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers
How much do I need to say here? Rodgers is an eight-time pro-bowler, two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl XLV MVP, and member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team. Some of his records: 102.4 career passer rating, 122.5 single-season passer rating, 4.33:1 career touchdown-to-interception ratio, 1.5% career interception rate, 0.3% single-season interception rate, and 402 consecutive passes without an interception. To cut to the chase, Rodgers doesn’t turn the ball over. He is a top 10 quarterback of all time, and a clear future first ballot hall of famer.
(Picture Credit: Green Bay Packers)
Houston Texans: J.J. Watt)
J.J. Watt is hands down the greatest player in Texans history. His selection with the eleventh pick in the 2011 draft, to say the least, was franchise-changing. Watt had a solid rookie campaign, helping the Texans qualify for the playoffs for the first time ever. In the playoffs that year, he had a game-winning pick-six to go along with 3.5 sacks. Watt’s 2012 season was one of the greatest defensive seasons in NFL history as he finished the year with 81 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 39 tackles for loss, 16 passes defended, 4 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries en route to winning the 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. In 2014 and 2015, Watt won back-to-back NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards with 20.5 and 17.5 sack seasons. Since 2016, Watt has struggled to stay healthy, only playing in all 16 games one season. That year was 2018, where Watt totaled 16 sacks and 7 forced fumbles to earn a trip to his fifth pro bowl and fifth first-team all-pro selection. With Watt’s dominance over the past decade, there is no doubt that he will end up in Canton someday.
Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson
Don’t be shocked if Quenton Nelson ends up as the greatest offensive guard in NFL history. In 2017, the Colts allowed a league-high 56 sacks. After drafting Quenton Nelson with the sixth pick in 2018, the Colts allowed 18 sacks, good for fewest in the NFL. Nelson completely changed the Colts offensive line, as Indianapolis now boasts one of the most well-respected fronts in the league. In 2019, Nelson played 1,042 snaps and allowed zero sacks while committing just three penalties. The 24-year-old is already a two-time pro-bowler and two-time first-team all-pro. The scary thing is that Nelson is still a few years away from his prime, and is only going to get better in years to come. Expect Nelson to lead an offensive line in Indy that will be among the league’s best for many years to come. Although he has only played two seasons, lock in Quenton Nelson as a future first ballot hall of famer.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Yannick Ngakoue
This might be a longshot, but Ngakoue is the only Jaguar with a slight chance of ending up in Canton. In his first four seasons, he has emerged as a consistent pass rusher who causes turnovers. He has finished with at least 8 sacks every year, and has forced 14 fumbles in 63 games. With Ngakoue entering his prime at 25, these next few years are his chance to take that next step and become an all-pro defensive end. With only one pro-bowl and no appearances on a first or second team all-pro, Ngakoue will need to drastically improve his resume or else Canton is not in his future.
Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes
Although Patrick Mahomes has been a starting quarterback in the NFL for only two seasons, some people are already calling him the greatest quarterback of all time. He is a generational talent unlike anyone else. His jump throws, no-look passes, and dimes across his body with a defender chasing him out of bounds: stuff we have never seen before. 9,412 passing yards. 76 touchdowns, 2 years as a starter. Mahomes is simply incredible. In 2018 (his first year as the Chiefs starter), he made first-team all-pro and won NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. In his first season as a starter! In 2019, he led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl title since 1970 and won MVP of the big game. In all three playoff games last year he helped the Chiefs overcome double digit deficits by throwing for 901 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushing for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns. Let’s look at the NFL records Mahomes has already set: youngest player to throw for six touchdowns in a game, most consecutive road games with at least three touchdown passes (7), most touchdown passes through first three games of a season (13), most touchdown passes through first eight career games (22), first player to throw for over 3,000 yards in first ten games, most consecutive 300-plus passing yard games (8), fastest player to 4,000 passing yards and 40+ touchdown passes (13 games), fastest to 7,500 career passing yards (24 games). His Kansas City Chiefs records: most touchdown passes in a game (6), most touchdown passes in a season (50), most passing yards in a season (5,097), career quarterback rating (108.9), playoff wins by a quarterback (4), playoff win percentage by a quarterback (.800). Mahomes is only 24, so expect him to break a lot more records in years to come. In conclusion, lock in Mahomes a future first ballot hall of famer.
(Bonus prediction: Mahomes wins 8 Super Bowls and 5 MVPs to become the greatest football player of all time)
Los Angeles Chargers: Keenan Allen
If Keenan Allen can stay healthy, he is a clear top-five receiver in the league. In each of the last three seasons, Allen played in all 16 games and put up over 1,100 yards each season. He has made three straight pro bowls and won NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2017. Allen is regarded by many as the best route runner in all of football. He has incredible footwork in his release that he uses to create immediate separation. Allen is only 28, and has plenty of time to improve his resume for Canton. Expect Allen to have at least seven more productive seasons to solidify his case for a golden jacket.
Los Angeles Rams: Aaron Donald
Is there any defensive player that offenses fear more than Aaron Donald? The good pass rushers get double teamed. Well, Donald has gotten triple teamed since his rookie year. Since entering the league in 2014, Donald has been named to 6 pro bowls and 5 first-team all-pros. He won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014, and back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, he broke the record for sacks by a defensive tackle with 20.5, and was named the number one player on the NFL Top 100 Players list. It’s safe to say that if not for a record-breaking season from Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Donald would have won NFL Most Valuable Player in 2018, becoming the first defensive player to win the award since Lawrence Taylor did in 1986. What more do I need to say? Aaron Donald is a future first ballot hall of famer.
Miami Dolphins: Xavien Howard
Xavien Howard is the most underrated cornerback in the NFL. Very quietly, Howard has flown under the radar as a shutdown corner in Miami. In 2018, he led the league with 7 interceptions and was named to his first pro bowl and second-team all-pro. Although he was banged up in 2019, his recent success should not go unnoticed. Howard is entering his prime at 27, and with a great defensive coach in Brian Flores along with a young and emerging Dolphins defense, expect Howard to break out during these next few seasons and become the league’s most feared cornerback.
Minnesota Vikings: Danielle Hunter
Last year, Danielle Hunter became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 50 sacks. While his name isn’t very recognizable compared to Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack, or J.J. Watt, Hunter is a first ballot hall of famer in the making. In short, the guy can do it all. He has incredible burst and strength that he uses to get to the quarterback, but can also chase down running backs and receivers in the open field with his speed that is crazy fast for a defensive end - he runs a 4.57 40-yard dash. In both 2018 and 2019, he notched 14.5 sacks to earn well-deserved trips to the pro bowl. The shocking thing about Hunter is that he is only 25, so the best is yet to come.
New England Patriots: Matthew Slater
A special teamer making the hall of fame? Yes indeed. Matthew Slater is a prime fit of the Patriots “do your job” mentality. Since 2008, Slater has been the most reliable special teamer in the league. He consistently beats his man and flies down field to make tackles. Slater is a three-time Super Bowl champion, eight-time pro-bowler, and five-time first-team all-pro. What more can you ask from him? He deserves his place in Canton.
New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees
It’s safe to say that Drew Brees saved football in New Orleans, and is the greatest player to ever put on the black and gold. When Brees arrived in the Big Easy in 2006, the Saints were a disaster. To top it all off, New Orleans was still dealing with the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. That year, Brees led the Saints to an NFC South Division title and trip to the NFC Championship. Flash forward three years, and the Saints are Super Bowl Champions, with Brees as the game’s MVP. For the next decade, the Saints had one of the league’s top offenses and were a contender in the NFC year after year. Brees’s career accolades: 13 pro bowls, 2006 first-team all-pro, four-time second-team all-pro, 2008 and 2011 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, 2010 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, 2010 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, 2006 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, seven-time NFL passing yards leader, four-time NFL passing touchdowns leader, and six-time NFL completion percentage leader. Wait, we are not done yet. Brees’s NFL records: most career passing yards, most career pass completions, most career passing touchdowns, highest career completion percentage, highest single-season completion percentage, most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, most 5,000 yard passing seasons, and most touchdown passes in a game. Drew Brees is hands down the greatest statistical quarterback of all time, and is a no doubt first ballot hall of famer.
New York Giants: Saquon Barkley
In his first two seasons, Barkley has rushed for 2,310 yards and 17 touchdowns behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines. He has also been a threat in the passing game with 143 receptions, 1,159 yards, and 6 touchdowns. In just two seasons, Barkley has already drawn comparisons to Barry Sanders and Adrian Peterson. With an incredible work ethic off the field, Barkley will continue to push himself and get faster and stronger through intense training. As the anchor of the Giants offense, don’t be surprised if the 23-year-old emerges as the best running back in the league before he hits his prime.
New York Jets: Jamal Adams
Yes, I am aware of the trade rumors, but Adams is still a New York Jet as of today. Although only playing in the NFL for three seasons, he has already emerged as a top safety in the league. Adams is a complete safety: he can cover ground, get interceptions, force fumbles, come into the box and stop the run, cover tight ends. Jamal can do it all, and excel at everything he does. He is already a two-time pro-bowler and has made a first and second-team all-pro. Adams loves to lead by example, and deserves the big contract extension he is looking for.
Oakland Raiders: Derek Carr
Derek Carr puts up big numbers every year. The three-time pro-bowler is coming off one of his best years where he threw for a career-high 4,054 yards and had a career-best 70.4 completion percentage and 100.8 passer rating. The Raiders’ franchise leader in passing yards turned 29 last March and is in the middle of his prime. However, it is do or die time for Carr in 2020 after Marcus Mariota was brought in to compete for the starting job. Although Carr has put up big numbers, he is still looking for his first playoff win. I think Carr will revitalize his career after the move to Las Vegas and return to the MVP caliber quarterback that he was in 2015 and 2016. With a young and talented receiving core consisting of Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow, Zay Jones, and Tyrell Williams, an emerging tight-end in Darren Waller, and a top-ten running back in Josh Jacobs, expect the Raiders to have one of the league’s top offenses for the next decade. Although the AFC West is going to be a tough division, Carr is going to have at least five huge passing seasons to earn his place in Canton.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jason Kelce
To say the least, Philadelphia got a steal when they drafted Jason Kelce in the sixth round in 2011. Kelce is the first offensive lineman taken in the sixth round or later to make 3 first-team all-pros since Rayfield Wright accomplished the feat in the 1970s. Wright got his place in Canton, so it’s most certain that Kelce will as well. Kelce has been a solid center his whole career, but like many players on this list, has had one year that solidifies his case for a golden jacket. In 2017, Kelce was named first-team all-pro, was the highest rated offensive lineman by PFF, won Run Blocker of the Year by PFF, and helped the Eagles offensive line win Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Year. To top it all off, Kelce and the Eagles’ number one ranked offensive line helped the underdog Birds upset the Patriots in Super Bowl LII to secure the franchise’s first title. Kelce is already a legend in Philadelphia, but in ten years or so, he’ll also be an icon in Canton.
Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Watt
After two solid seasons to start his career, T.J. Watt broke out in 2019. The younger brother of J.J. finished the year with 55 total tackles, 14.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, 36 quarterback hits, 2 interceptions, 8 pass deflections, 4 fumble recoveries, and a league-high 8 forced fumbles. Watt is good against the run, a beast in coverage, and incredible at getting to the quarterback. When an outside linebacker is voted to first-team all-pro as an edge rusher and second-team all-pro as a linebacker, you know he is an absolute stud. If his numbers continue to go up, watch out for T.J. Watt to join his older brother as the second first ballot hall of famer in the Watt family.
San Francisco 49ers: George Kittle
It only took George Kittle three seasons to become the best tight-end in the league. In his short career, Kittle has made two pro-bowls and a first and second-team all-pro, but above all, holds the record for most receiving yards in a single season by a tight end. In that iconic 2018 season, Kittle caught 88 passes for 1,377 yards, with an incredible average of 15.6 yards per catch. Did you think I was done with the record? The 49ers all-pro tight end also holds the record for most receiving yards in a half by a tight end (210), most receiving yards in first three seasons by a tight end (2,945), and is the first tight end to lead the league in yards after catch, with 870 back in 2018. With his reputation as an incredible route runner and fierce blocker, Kittle is one of the league’s most fun players to watch. Don’t be shocked if someday Kittle suprasses Tony Gonzalez as the best tight end of all time.
Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson
How much do I need to say here? In 8 years, Russell has never had a losing season. It doesn’t matter who he has as weapons, he’s going to put up 3,500+ yards and 30+ touchdowns to get his team to the playoffs. He is a seven-time pro-bowler and Super Bowl XLVIII champion. He is one of the best scrambling quarterbacks in NFL history and can always turn nothing into something. Wilson’s deep ball accuracy is insane, and no matter who he is throwing to, he is going to give his receiver a chance to go up and make a play. Russell Wilson is the Seattle Seahawks, and as long as he is their starting quarterback, they have a shot at winning the Lombardi.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans
Yes, I am aware that Brady and Gronk both signed with the Bucs this past offseason, but since they have never played a snap in a Bucs uniform and are obvious future first ballot HOFers let's talk about Mike Evans. In six seasons with the Bucs, Evans has put up over 1,000 receiving yards every year and is tied with Randy Moss for the most seasons of 1,000 receiving yards to begin a career. At the age of 26, Evans is the youngest player to reach 7,000 receiving yards, and is the Bucs all-time leader in career receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. In 2018 and 2019, Evans averaged a crazy 17.7 and 17.3 yards per reception to lead a Bucs’ passing attack that threw for more yards than any other team. It is incredible that Evans has been able to put up such big numbers with a turnover machine in Jameis Winston as his quarterback. With Tom Brady as his new signal caller, Evans finally has the chance to prove that he is the best wide receiver in all of football.
Tennessee Titans: Derrick Henry
After seeing Henry’s historic 2019 season, there’s no reason not to believe that this guy is headed for Canton. In 15 regular season games, Henry rushed for 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns on 303 carries to lead the league in all three categories. But the 2019 rushing champ wasn’t done there - in three playoff games, Henry ran for 446 yards on 83 touches and carried Tennessee to upsets over the heavily favored New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens. He is only 26, and with a Titans offense that is built to ground and pound, Henry has a very good chance to put up monster numbers for many years to come. The Titans continue to play to their strengths and feed the beast, it’s safe to say that they will be a contender in the AFC for the foreseeable future.
Washington (insert new name here): Chase Young
Despite the fact that Chase Young hasn’t played a single snap in a Washington uniform, I have a good feeling that he is Canton bound. The 6 foot 5 defensive end was unstoppable in his junior year at Ohio State, posting 16.5 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, and 7 forced fumbles. With incredible size, strength, and speed, Young has all the attributes to become one of the greatest defensive ends of all time. I say Young does just that, and becomes the leader of a Washington defense that will be one of the league’s best for the next decade.