On Wednesday the HOF reduced this years crop to 26 including four first time eligibles. Jason Taylor who spent the majority of his career with the Dolphins is one of those four.
Taylor is joined by LaDainian Tomlinson, safety Brian Dawkins, and WR Hines Ward. Traditionally it’s a little harder for WR’s to get into the HOF in their first year of eligibility but Ward could buck that trend. Tomlinson is also a good candidate as well but Jason Taylor who sits close to the top in most of the DE statistical categories could have a solid chance of election this year.
Taylor and the other three will be joined by last years top 10 finalists. Terrell Davis, Joe Jacoby, John Lynch, Kurt Warner and Don Coryell. Davis could be a problem for Tomlinson making it this year or vice versa.
Steve Atwater, Alan Faneca, Edgerrin James, Terrell Owens, Morten Anderson were all left off the cut from 15 to 10 last year and the rest of this years group includes Tony Boselli, Isaac Bruce, Roger Craig, Chris Hinton, Clay Matthews, Kevin Mawae, Karl Mecklenburg, Darren Woodson, Jimmy Johnson, and tackle Mike Kenn.
The fact that no other pure defensive end is included in this years finalists could help Taylor make it into the top 10 and into the HOF as a first time ballot entry. Taylor was the leagues AFC Defensive Player of the year in 2006 and he shares or holds a couple of significant records.
Taylor’s nine touchdowns is the most by any defensive end in league history and he has three safeties to add to that. He is tied with John Abraham for the most forced fumbles in league history since that stat was tracked. Through his career Taylor had 139.5 career sacks which puts him tied for 6th place all time.
Taylor also has eight interceptions and three touchdowns. Unfortunately Taylor was not joined by his brother-in-law. Zach Thomas who made the early cuts last year did not make the cut to 26 this year.