Pro Football Hall of Fame: Who Should Get Busted In 2017

15 modern era finalists, two contributors and one senior candidate find out on Saturday if they will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017

No more than eight inductees can be elected during Saturday’s proceedings from the 18 candidates eligible from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As many as five of the 15 modern-era candidates, either or both of the contributors and the senior committee candidate will be selected. Each finalist will have a presenter who will make their case to the 48-person selection committee. After that, the finalist list will get cut to 10, then to the final five.

This class is heavy with first time finalists, but you need a cut-above career to get in on a first ballot and that’s where this class falls short. It is also heavy with offensive linemen, two of whom should receive serious consideration this year.

The new Hall of Fame class will officially announced on tonight’s NFL Honors show (8-10 p.m. ET on FOX), but likely heavily leaked on Twitter during the afternnon. The following is predictions for how Saturday’s votes will take place.

Aug 3, 2015; White Sulphur Springs, WV, USA; Former New Orleans Saints kicker Morten Anderson answers questions from the media following a day of training camp at The Greenbrier. Anderson is one of the first inductees into the Saints' ring of honor. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 3, 2015; White Sulphur Springs, WV, USA; Former New Orleans Saints kicker Morten Anderson answers questions from the media following a day of training camp at The Greenbrier. Anderson is one of the first inductees into the Saints’ ring of honor. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Morten Anderson, Kicker

New Orleans Saints (1982-1994); Atlanta Falcons (1995-2000, 2006-2007); New York Giants (2001); Kansas City Chiefs (2002-2003); Minnesota Vikings (2004)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017)
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (3); Pro Bowls (7)

Positives: Anderson kicked in the NFL for 26 seasons and is the career leader in field goals made with 565, and points scored with 2,544. He also cored 99 points for the Falcons in his final season at the age of 47. In 1995, he set a then NFL record eight 50-plus-yard field goals.

Negatives: His 79.7 field goal percentage is terrible for a soccer style kicker who spent all but three seasons with teams that played their home games in domes. Anderson’s career extra point percentage is 98.8  which sounds strong until you see he’s No. 37 on the all-time list in an era when all extra points were kicked from the 2-yard line.

In his 26-year career he was only named a First Team All-Pro three times. He only led the NFL in single-season field goal attempts twice and field goals made once. Anderson never led the league in scoring for a season.

Prediction: Four times as a finalist is not the charm. Longevity doesn’t make for a Hall of Fame career. There are a lot more reliable and deserving kickers coming through the pipeline that will be worthy of being the second placekicker inducted.

Jan 1, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Fox Sports announcer and former NFL player John Lynch on the sidelines before game between Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 1, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Fox Sports announcer and former NFL player John Lynch on the sidelines before game between Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

John Lynch, S

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1993-2003); Denver Broncos (2004-2007)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017)
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (2); Pro Bowls (9)

Positives: One of the leaders of Tampa Bay’s dominating late 1990s defenses.  Lynch was also recognized as one of the NFL’s hardest hitters during his career. He finished with 1,054 tackles as a tough, run-stuffing safety.

Negatives: Didn’t crack the Buccaneers’ starting lineup until his fourth year in the league. Low interception total for someone who played  a Cover 2 defense most of his career.

Prediction: Lynch will spend another season having to wait. He brought a lot of leadership intangibles to his teams, but not many measurables that other enshrined defensive backs can claim.

Don Coryell, Head Coach

St. Louis Cardinals (1973-1977); San Diego Chargers (1978-1986)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2010, 2015, 2016 and 2017)

Positives: The Cardinals franchise was in a 26-year postseason drought before Coryell coached them to two postseason appearances in 1974 and 1975. He took over the San Diego Chargers four games into the 1978 season and coached them to four-straight playoff appearances, 1979-82. Dan Fouts developed into a Hall of Fame quarterback under his vertical passing scheme. Coryell was named NFL  Coach of the Year in 1974 and AFC Coach of the Year in 1979.

Negatives: Lost two straight AFC Championship Games in 1980 and 1981. He never took a team to the Super Bowl and his postseason record is a meager 3-6.

Prediction: Having an offensive system named after him is why he keeps appearing on the finals list, but where his system begins and Sid Gilman’s ends is sometimes tough to determine. His lack of postseason success doesn’t warrant Hall of Fame induction.

Ty Law, CB

New England Patriots (1995-2004); New York Jets (2005, 2008); Kansas City Chiefs (2006-2007); Denver Broncos (2009)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2017)
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (2); Pro Bowls (5)

Positives: Law twice led the NFL in interceptions (1998 and 2005).  He recorded eight tackles, two passes defensed and scored on 47 yard interception return for touchdown in New England’s 20-17 win over Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

Negatives: There aren’t a lot a lot of honors to speak of for a three-time Super Bowl winner.

Prediction: Not enough of a career to get in on a first ballot, but enough to keep his stock rising as time goes on.

14 Nov 1999: Isaac Bruce #80 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates his touchdown with Torry Holt #88 during the game against the Carolina Panthers at the Trans World Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Panthers 35-10. (Photo by Elsa Hasch/Getty Images)

14 Nov 1999: Isaac Bruce #80 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates his touchdown with Torry Holt #88 during the game against the Carolina Panthers at the Trans World Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Panthers 35-10. (Photo by Elsa Hasch/Getty Images)

Isaac Bruce, WR

LA/St. Louis Rams (1994-2007); San Francisco 49ers (2008-2009)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2017)
Honors: Pro Bowls (4)

Positives: Bruce has career numbers similar to Terrell Owens, but without the over-the-top personality. Recorded six catches for 162 yards including a 73-yard, game-winning touchdown reception in Rams’ Super Bowl XXXIV victory

Negatives: Bruce shared a lot of targets with Torry Holt and Marshall Faulk, which kept him from pulling down more statistical numbers and honors that he deserved.

Prediction: Lack of league honors will keep him from cutting through the field this year.

Jason Taylor, DE

Miami Dolphins (1997-2007,  2009, 2011); Washington Redskins (2008); New York Jets (2010)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2017)
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (3); Pro Bowls (6)

Positives: Taylor only missed four games in his first 11 NFL seasons. He led the league in sacks in 2002 and finished his career No. 6 on the all-time sack list. Taylor is also credited with 775 tackles for his career. In 2006, he intercepted two passes and returned both for touchdowns. Overall, he scored 60 points in his career: six fumble returns for touchdowns, three interception returns for touchdowns and three safeties.

Negatives: The standard of Taylor’s play dropped his final four seasons and his commitment came under question. In 2008, he skipped Miami’s voluntary offseason workouts to appear on Dancing with the Stars. In July 2008, Taylor was traded to the Washington Redskins, but was released the following year after refusing to participate in Washington’s offseason program so he could spend time closer to his family in Florida.

Prediction: Won’t be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He was a dominant defensive end but his national profile never reached breakout stage because he only played in a conference championship game once, with the Jets, and made only four playoff appearances for the Dolphins.

Taylor will also run into the bias that the Hall of Fame voters have against pass rushers. Warren Sapp was voted in ahead of sack monster, and morning television personality, Michael Strahan when they were first timers on the ballot. Kevin Greene also waited a lot longer than necessary. Taylor has the career to eventually make it, but it’s going to take him a couple of times on the final ballot to get over the top.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 30: Former Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins acknowledges the crowd after being introduced before the start of the Eagles and New York Giants game at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 30: Former Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins acknowledges the crowd after being introduced before the start of the Eagles and New York Giants game at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Brian Dawkins, Safety

Philadelphia Eagles (1996-2008); Denver Broncos (2009-2011)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2017)
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (4); Pro Bowls (9)

Positives: Dawkins was a prototype free safety. He recorded double-digit interceptions in 11 of his 16 seasons. He is also credited with 36 forced fumbles. Dawkins was the first player in NFL history to record a sack, interception, fumble recovery and touchdown catch in same game, and was voted to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

Negatives: This is Dawkins’ first year of eligibility. The case for his induction will be made to the selection committee for the first time.

Prediction: Dawkins will get the votes eventually, but not this year. He has solid accomplishments, but not a high enough career profile to convince selectors to bust him in his first year of eligibility.

Tony Boselli, LT

Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-2001)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2017)
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (3); Pro Bowls (5)

Positives: Was the first player drafted by the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars second overall in 1985. Boselli was considered one of  the top tackles in the game even though he was playing for an expansion team. Boselli anchored an offensive line that helped the Jaguars to four straight playoff appearances.  He was also named to the NFL’s all-decade team of the 1990’s even though he only played half the decade.

Negatives: A severe shoulder injury in 2001 cut short his career and caused Boselli’s profile to drop in recent years.

Prediction: Like Dawkins, Boselli will get in. Those who watched him play know that he’s hall worthy. His initial case will be made before the selectors and his support will get a chance to grow because of it.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Wide Receiver Terrell Owens #81 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball after a reception pursued by Winfred Tubbs #54 of the New Orleans Saints during an NFL football game September 14, 1997 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Owens played for the 49ers from 1996-2003. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 14: Wide Receiver Terrell Owens #81 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball after a reception pursued by Winfred Tubbs #54 of the New Orleans Saints during an NFL football game September 14, 1997 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Owens played for the 49ers from 1996-2003. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Kevin Mawae, Center

Seattle Seahawks (1994-1997); New York Jets (1998-2005); Tennessee Titans (2006-2009)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2017)
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (3); Pro Bowls (3)

Positives: Mawae centered the offensive line for seven of Curtis Martin’s 1,000-yard rushing seasons. In 13 of his 16 seasons Mawae centered for lines that blocked for 1,000 rushers.

Negatives: Played a low-profile position at an extremely high level.

Prediction: This is Mawae’s first time as a finalist and the case will begin to get made for him to be a finalist for as long as it takes.

Terrell Owens, WR

San Francisco 49ers (1996-2003); Philadelphia Eagles (2004-2005); Dallas Cowboys (2006-2008); Buffalo Bills (2009); Cincinnati Bengals (2010)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2016, 2017)
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (5); Pro Bowls (6)

Positives: Owens has all the career stats to have been voted in last year. He’s No. 8 all-time in receptions, second in all-time receiving yards and third in receiving touchdowns. Owens suffered a broken leg seven weeks before Super Bowl and worked hard to rehab and play in Super Bowl XXXIX against the New England Patriots. Owens caught nine passes for 122 yards in that game. Owens was honored by being named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 2000’s.

Negatives: A lot of negative press, some of it deserved, and a perceived me-first attitude mar Owens’ career

Prediction: On the bubble. Ego is part of the job description if you want to be one of the great wide receivers and Owens was naturally gifted in that. He’s going to go in. The question is how long the voters will make him wait.

Aug 21, 2016; Frisco, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones speaks prior to the ribbon cutting for the Ford Center at The Star. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 21, 2016; Frisco, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones speaks prior to the ribbon cutting for the Ford Center at The Star. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Alan Faneca, LG

Pittsburgh Steelers (1998-2007); New York Jets (2008-2009); Arizona Cardinals (2010)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2016, 2017)
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (3); Pro Bowls (3)

Positives: Faneca was a 6-4, 322-pound road grader offensive tackle who boasted incredible durability for an offensive lineman. Faneca played in 206 of 208 games in his 13-year career. Faneca started 14 career playoff games including four AFC championship games and Super Bowl XL

Negatives: Only his second year of eligibility.

Prediction: On the bubble. The way this ballot sets up it’s either going to be him or Terrell Owens getting that fifth spot. If Faneca doesn’t get it this year he’ll get it next year. No one is going to keep him out permanently. He could also go in if the committee doesn’t believe Terrell Davis had a long enough career to merit induction this year.

Jerry Jones, Owner

Dallas Cowboys (1989-Present)

Contributor Finalist

Positives: He helped return the Cowboys franchise to prominence in the NFL, when he installed Jimmy Johnson as general manager and coach. Not so much without Johnson. Jones has shown all NFL owners how to make money in the licensing game  which never hurts a candidacy. Jones also pushed through a stadium deal that allowed him to build a stadium with an immense video board that allows fans to watch the Cowboys on television from the comfort of their own stadium seat.

Negatives: His attempt to be the Cowboys owner/general manager has held the team back from continuing the excellence they established under Johnson. Jones is responsible for building a monstrosity that is ideal for fans who want to watch a game from the comfort of their high-priced stadium seat.

Prediction: Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017. The contributor category was created to help clear the backlog of commissioners, owners and general managers. Jones does not deserve to be in until Pat Bowlen has his bust installed, but getting this far as a contributor nearly ensures that he’s going to be wearing gold at the next induction ceremony in Canton.

2004 NFL Draft first overall pick Eli Manning (right) with NFL Commisioner Paul Tagliabue, at Madison Square Garden in New York, April 24. Manning, shown with San Diego Chargers jersey, was traded to the New York Giants later in the day. (Photo by Allan Grdovic/Getty Images)

2004 NFL Draft first overall pick Eli Manning (right) with NFL Commisioner Paul Tagliabue, at Madison Square Garden in New York, April 24. Manning, shown with San Diego Chargers jersey, was traded to the New York Giants later in the day. (Photo by Allan Grdovic/Getty Images)

Paul Tagliabue, Contributor

NFL Commissioner (1989-2006)

Hall of Finalist (2007, 2008, 2009, 2017)

Positives: Tagliabue followed one of the most important and influential commissioners in professional sports history and still managed to make his own mark on the NFL. He led the growth of the NFL from 28 to 32 teams. When Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore Tagliabue made sure the franchise name and team records stayed in Cleveland. When Arizona refused to recognize the Martin Luther King Jr Day holiday Tagliabue moved Super Bowl XXVII to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Negatives: In 1994  he described concussions as “one of those pack-journalism issues,” a statement Tagliabue has publicly admitted to regretting.

Prediction: Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Again, this is one of the reasons the contributor’s category was created. He was a commissioner and they don’t get locked out of Hall of Fames forever. Even Bud Selig managed to get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and Roger Goodell will one day be recognized in Canton.

Kenny Easley, SS

Seattle Seahawks (1981-1987)

Senior Finalist
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (3); Pro Bowls (5)

Positives: Easley was selected fourth overall by the Seahawks in the 1981 NFL Draft. He quickly established himself as smart in coverage while being a punishing tackler. Easley was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1984 when he intercepted 10 passes, running back two for touchdowns. He recorded multiple interceptions in each of his seven seasons. Easley was named member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1980’s.

Negatives: Never reached finalist status during his time of eligibility for the Hall of Fame but  that didn’t hurt Dick Stanfel last year. Easley’s career was cut short due to injuries and medical problems.

Prediction: Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017. It’s been a while since the selection committee has turned back a senior nominee and they won’t be using this year to set a precedent.

Jan 25, 1998; San Diego, CA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis (30) carries the ball past Green Bay Packers linebacker Bernardo Harris (55) and defensive tackle Santana Dotson (71) during Super Bowl XXXII at Qualcomm Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Packers 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Peter Brouillet-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 25, 1998; San Diego, CA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis (30) carries the ball past Green Bay Packers linebacker Bernardo Harris (55) and defensive tackle Santana Dotson (71) during Super Bowl XXXII at Qualcomm Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Packers 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Peter Brouillet-USA TODAY Sports

Terrell Davis, RB

Denver Broncos (1995-2001)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2015, 2016, 2017)
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (3); Pro Bowls (3)

Positives: Turned in a strong rookie season, 237 rushes for 1,117 yards and 49 catches for 367 yards, then morphed into one of the most punishing running backs in the NFL. For three seasons Davis was unstoppable. He was second in the NFL in rushing in 1996 and 1997 then rolled to a league leading 2,008 yards rushing in 1998. He also finished third in all-purpose yards that season with 2,225. He converted those yards into 23 rushing touchdowns to lead the league.

Davis’ performances in Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII had as much to do with the Broncos winning as Elway’s did. In Super Bowl XXXII he rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns in their 31-24 win over the Green Bay Packers. In Super Bowl XXXIII he rushed for 102 yards and caught two passes for another 50 yards in the Broncos’ 34-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Negatives: A severe knee injury ended Davis’ dominance. In Week 4 of the 1999 season Davis went to make a tackle after an interception and tore both his ACL and MCL in his right knee. A problem with his left knee in 2000 and arthroscopic surgery on both knees finished his career.

Prediction: Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Davis made the final 10 in last year’s vote so his candidacy is trending in the right direction and he will be getting the “Gale Sayers exception” at some point. His star didn’t burn long but burned so bright it can’t be ignored.

Joe Jacoby, LT

Washington Redskins (1981-1993)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2016-2017)
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (2); Pro Bowls (4)

Positives: Anchored the “Hogs” offensive line that powered the Joe Gibbs’ coached Redskins to four Super Bowls, three of them victories (in Super Bowl XVII, XXII and XXVI). Only one other member of this elite offensive line, Russ Grimm, has been busted. Three team victories in four Super Bowls argues for another.

Negatives: Fought through some injuries, but still played in 170 games in his 13 season career.

Prediction: Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017. This is Jacoby’s last shot at being voted in before moving to Senior Committee consideration. He made it to the top 10 last year. He’ll take the last step this year.

Kurt Warner

28 Nov 1999: Kurt Warner #13 of the St. Louis Rams passes the ball during a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Trans World Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Saints 43-12. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch /Allsport

Kurt Warner, QB

St. Louis Rams (1998 to 2003); New York Giants (2004);  Arizona Cardinals (2005-2009)

Hall of Fame Finalist (2015, 2016 and 2017)
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (2); Pro Bowls (4); 1999 and 2001 NFL MVP

Positives: In his first season as a starter he threw for 4,353 yards, 41 touchdowns and led the Rams to an appearance against the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. In that 23-16 victory he earned MVP honors after throwing for a Super Bowl record 414 yards.

Warner continued to top the NFL in most major passing categories the following two seasons and led the Rams to one more Super Bowl, a 20-17 loss that launched the New England Patriots dynasty.

Warner revived his career with the Arizona Cardinals and led them to an appearance in XLIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns to come within 30 seconds of engineering an upset. What that game did was establish Warner as the only quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 300 yards in three Super Bowls.

Negatives: His mid-career, five-season cliff dive is why there’s always been heavy debate about whether or not Warner is Hall of Fame qualified. Even though he put together some of the greatest individual seasons of any quarterback in NFL history, his career numbers don’t add up.

Prediction: Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Warner has done his time in NFL purgatory and he’s one of the best postseason quarterbacks in league history.

LaDainian Tomlinson, RB

San Diego Chargers (2001-2011)

First Time Hall of Fame Finalist
Honors: First-Team All-Pro (3); Pro Bowls (5); 2006 NFL MVP

Positives: Tomlinson was one of the dominant running backs of his era. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in eight of his nine seasons in San Diego. Twice, Tomlinson led the NFL in rushing yardage and three times in rushing touchdowns. He was also an all-purpose threat. In 2003 he led the NFL with 2,370 yards from scrimmage.

Tomlinson is fifth on the all-time career rushing yards list with 13,684 and second with 145 rushing touchdowns. In 2008, he set the single-season rushing touchdown record with 28 that still stands today. He also added three receiving touchdowns to that for a total of 31. His 186 points made him one of the rare non-kickers to ever win a season scoring title.

Negatives: The 2006 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner is way too nice? Where does he get off thinking he’s a Hall of Famer?

Prediction: Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Really, was there a doubt on this one? Tomlinson is the lock of this class. He’s American Pharoah against the field. His Hall of Fame gold jacket will look sharp if he ever wants to wear it over his Chargers jersey.

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