The incoming 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame class will have plenty of company from today’s NFL rosters. FOX Sports Senior NFL Writer Alex Marvez ranks 15 players who are locks for future induction.
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New England quarterback Tom Brady
The best benchmark to judge Brady is winning. Brady’s 76.4 career-winning percentage (194-60, including playoffs) is the best in NFL history. Speaking of playoffs, he has a record 22 postseason victories to go along with four Super Bowl victories, three Super Bowl MVP awards and two NFL MVP honors.
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Denver quarterback Peyton Manning
Manning has bested almost all of the NFL passing records set by Brett Favre, who is a lock for 2016 Hall of Fame induction. The only thing left to bolster Manning’s legacy would be a victory in Super Bowl 50 against Carolina.
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Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers has more than filled the giant shoes left behind in Green Bay when replacing Brett Favre eight seasons ago. Rodgers has the highest career quarterback rating (104.1) in NFL history. He also has led the Packers to seven straight playoff appearances with one Super Bowl title.
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Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
As a passer, Roethlisberger has come a long way since guiding the 2005 Steelers to a Super Bowl title in just his second season. Roethlisberger also has established himself as arguably the toughest player of his generation by playing through multiple injuries that would have sidelined those without the same pain tolerance.
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New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees
His legacy kept growing in 2015. Brees tied a single-game NFL record with seven scoring passes in a win over the New York Giants and eclipsed the 400-touchdown mark for his career. Brees also threw for 4,870 yards to win his sixth NFL passing titles in a 10-season span.
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Indianapolis wide receiver Andre Johnson
After a 2014 decline with Houston, the 34-year-old Johnson wasn’t able to resume posting gaudy receiving numbers in his first year in Indianapolis. That shouldn’t detract from the stellar career he has enjoyed. The most prolific wide receiver in Texans history, Johnson became only the second player in NFL history with five 100-catch seasons in 2013.
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Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson
After missing almost the entire 2014 campaign following a child-abuse controversy, Peterson probably doesn’t have a chance to break Emmitt Smith’s all-time NFL rushing record. However, he’s the only active running back with a legitimate shot at hitting those heights. The 30-year-old Peterson will leap into the top 10 all time if he duplicates his NFL-best 1,485-yard output from this season.
New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis
The landlocked Hall of Fame headquarters in Canton, Ohio, will be getting its own island when Revis is inducted. Revis has established himself as one of the great man-cover cornerbacks with seven Pro Bowl appearances in the past nine seasons.
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Houston defensive end J.J. Watt
Although he has played only five seasons, Watt has accomplished more in that stretch than almost every other defensive player does during their entire career. Watt is the heavy favorite to win his third NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in a four-season span. At his current pace, Watt also is a legitimate threat to Bruce Smith’s all-time sack record after logging 74.5 since being drafted in 2011.
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Cleveland left tackle Joe Thomas
Thomas is one of the few things the Browns can brag about. He hasn’t even missed a snap let alone game since entering the NFL in 2007 and was recently voted a first-team All-Pro selection for the sixth time in his nine seasons.
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Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald already has a Hall of Fame resume when it comes to off-field charitable and philanthropic efforts. Fitzgerald’s big heart is matched by big-time production that included a career-high 109 receptions for 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns during the 2015 season.
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Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson
Johnson recently said he is considering retirement at the age of 30. Even if he follows through, Johnson already has a Hall of Fame resume. The 6-foot-5, 237-pound Johnson earned his “Megatron” nickname by traumatizing opposing defenses with six consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
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Dallas tight end Jason Witten
Witten is a model of consistency with 12 consecutive seasons of at least 64 catches and 700 receiving yards. That includes the 2015 campaign where he didn’t drop any of the 77 catchable passes thrown in his direction by four different quarterbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. He also hasn’t missed a start in more than a decade.
Philadelphia left tackle Jason Peters
A tight end at the University of Arkansas, Peters has found his calling after being converted to tackle upon his arrival in Buffalo as an undrafted college free agent. Peters also showed no sign of slipping at age 34, earning his eighth career Pro Bowl berth in 2015.
San Diego tight end Antonio Gates
Gates made the right decision pursuing an NFL career after not having played the spot at Kent State to focus on basketball. Gates is third all time among tight ends behind Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten with 844 catches for 10,644 yards.