Scout NFL Roundtable: Hall of Fame Selection

If you could have picked one former player from your team to induct into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007, who would it be and why? That's the question we posed to our Scout NFL publishers and writers, reminding them that any player who didn't retire by 2001 wasn't eligible for consideration. Check out who thirteen writers picked...

John Crist,
Chicago Bears

Richard Dent will not be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame again this year, but it's about time that he should.

Originally just an eighth-round pick out of Tennessee State University in the 1983 NFL Draft, Dent played 15 seasons and finished his brilliant career with 137.5 sacks. At the time of his retirement, only Reggie White and Bruce Smith had put more quarterbacks on the turf. In 12 years with the Bears, Dent racked up a franchise record 124.5 sacks, made it to four Pro Bowls, and was the MVP of Super Bowl XX.

If fellow Bear legend Dan Hampton is a Hall-of-Famer, then Dent certainly should be.

Michael Lombardo,
San Diego Chargers

The San Diego Charger most deserving of enshrinement into the Hall of Fame is former coach Don Coryell. He is the only coach in history to win more than 100 games both in college and in the pros, and completely revolutionized the way football is played. He challenged defenses with a wide open passing attack; he developed the tight end as a receiver; and he brought the I-formation into popularity.

The big knock against Coryell is that he never took a team to the Super Bowl. However, his "Air Coryell" attack and his positively focused coaching style are now parts of NFL lore. The coach is now 83 years old. It is time to give him the credit he so mightily deserves.

Alain Poupart,
Miami Dolphins

Guard Bob Kuechenberg has been a finalist for the last six years, and the truth is that based partly on his six Pro Bowls and his longevity (15 years), he is a more deserving Hall of Fame candidate than former teammate Bob Griese, who was elected in 1990. 

It's also interesting to note that the Dolphins defense of the 1970s, which was the driving force behind a team that won four consecutive division titles and two Super Bowls, has had only one member elected to the Hall of Fame, that being Nick Buoniconti. An argument could also be made for safeties Jake Scott and Dick Anderson or defensive end Bill Stanfill.

Tim Yotter,
Minnesota Vikings

Jim Marshall
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Defensive end Jim Marshall is widely considered the final missing piece for the Hall of Fame out of all of the deserving members of the Vikings' storied Purple People Eaters defense of the 1960s and 1970s. In 19 years (1961-79) with the Vikings, he played in four Super Bowls, amassed 127 sacks (leading the team six of those seasons) and still holds the franchise record with 29 fumbles recovered. 

But the adventure seeker with a sense of humor is best known for starting 270 consecutive games, still an NFL record among position players. He did that despite enduring numerous injuries: "Hyper-extended knees, broken ankles, broken hands, broken rib, shoulder separations, torn rotator cuffs, probably 10 or 15 more," he told Viking Update several years ago. And despite the pain he carries with him to this day, he'd do it all over again for the love of the game.

Matthew Postins,
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay has no eligible and worthy Hall of Fame players right now, which speaks to the immense drought of quality football in Tampa Bay after the Doug Williams era came to an end in the early 1980s. The Bucs failed to record a winning season from 1983 to 1996. That doesn't lend itself to producing Hall of Fame players. 

The Bucs of the Tony Dungy/Jon Gruden era will eventually get their due. Derrick Brooks is a first-ballot lock, while Ronde Barber, Warren Sapp and Keyshawn Johnson will get serious looks, with Barber and Sapp likely nods. Former safety John Lynch might get some attention, too. But only Johnson is retired, so the Bucs will have to wait at least another 6-to-8 years before someone joins Lee Roy Selmon in Canton.

Jerry Langton,
Indianapolis Colts

If there is a Colts player from the dark days between the Bert Jones and Peyton Manning eras who deserves a trip to Canton, it's Chris Hinton. The main reward the Colts got for backing off their claim to John Elway, Hinton was a natural guard who could play any spot on the line and make the Pro Bowl. 

Immensely strong and an outstanding athlete (he started his college career as a tight end), Hinton was not just a talent, but a player through and through. While plying his trade for some of the worst teams in NFL history -- ably holding rushers away from clueless quarterbacks and opening massive holes for tentative runners -- Hinton worked his butt off on every play from whistle to whistle. 

In eight seasons with the usually helpless Colts, Hinton made six Pro Bowls. Always a cerebral guy who understood the art and science of blocking, Hinton now owns and operates a fashionable wine shop in Atlanta.

Denis Savage,
Oakland Raiders

A first-round pick in 1973. A college award given in his name, handed out annually to the top player at his position. "Hang time" was born thanks to his legendary kicks, and John Madden's famous "Boom!" probably originated on the sidelines from watching a seven-time Pro Bowler and starter of the NFL's 75th anniversary team.

Punters may get little glory, but this is one "guy" who deserves to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. How many punters can claim they have hit the roof of a dome? Kicked one from end zone to end zone? Ray Guy was a weapon from 15 yards back. His deft, powerful hooves revolutionized the position. It is time he is recognized.

Charlie Bernstein,
Jacksonville Jaguars

If I could pick one former Jaguars player to induct into the Pro Football Hall of Fame that played his last game prior to 2001, that player would be left tackle, Tony Boselli. Although Boselli had a somewhat brief playing career, he was the most dominant player at his position, as he made the Pro Bowl each and every year after his rookie season (five appearances). 

Boselli was the first player ever drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars (second overall), and earned All-Pro honors after his very first season. He had unbelievable athleticism at left tackle, and was not only an outstanding pass protector, but a road-grading run blocker as well. 

Boselli led the expansion Jaguars to two AFC title game appearances (1996, 1999), as well as two AFC Central Division titles (1998, 1999). He is currently the only player in the Jaguars Ring of Honor.

Todd Korth,
Green Bay Packers

Jerry Kramer (
Thousands of Green Bay Packers fans for many years have felt that guard/kicker Jerry Kramer should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Kramer played for the Vince Lombardi-era Packers from 1958-68 and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection. He was a key member of an offensive line that blocked for Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung. Kramer also led the way for Bart Starr's famous 1-yard sneak into the end zone in the final seconds to win the 1967 Ice Bowl. 

Kramer made three field goal attempts in Green Bay's 1962 NFL Championship victory over the New York Giants at blustery Yankee Stadium, and he was named as a guard for the NFL 50-year team in 1969.

Michael John Schon,
Denver Broncos

For a team as rich in tradition as the Denver Broncos, it's surprising to find only one player gracing the hallowed halls of Canton - former quarterback John Elway. With any luck at all that fact will change in 2008, with one of the greatest offensive lineman to ever play the game, former tackle Gary Zimmerman.

A 12-year veteran of the trenches, Zimmerman was instrumental in the Denver's first Super Bowl victory in 1996, engineering a front line that helped propel Terrell Davis to record setting numbers, and secure John Elway's place in NFL history.

Playing through a series of painful injuries, the left tackle started all 184-games of his twelve-year career, including an amazing 169-consecutive starts and seven Pro Bowl appearances.  While his name may not be the most recognizable on the ballot, his play on the field is more than deserving of a spot among the NFL's finest.

Doug Farrar,
Seattle Seahawks

Of the 111 Hall of Fame nominees in 2006, one name was distinctly absent – that of Cortez Kennedy, the defensive tackle who played his entire career for the Seahawks from 1990 through 2000 and retired before the 2002 season. Kennedy was an eight-time All-Pro, the 1992 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and named to the league's All-Decade Team for the 1990s. 

His 1992 award was especially notable because that was the year in which the Seahawks fielded the worst offense in team history and went 2-14. But Kennedy came through with 92 tackles, 14 sacks and four forced fumbles. 

It's not surprising that Kennedy didn't make the final cut as a Hall of Famer right away – he played an unglamorous position in a smaller market during a mostly losing decade. However, Kennedy's omission from the larger list is an embarrassment. He was the best at his position during his era, and he deserves serious consideration.

Aaron Wilson,
Baltimore Ravens

Honestly, the Baltimore Ravens don't have any retired players who merit Hall of Fame induction in my opinion, including distinguished retirees Michael McCrary and Peter Boulware. They do have two current players who, in my opinion, should be first-ballot selections one day when they're eligible for Canton: two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year middle linebacker Ray Lewis and nine-time All-Pro offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden.

Jim Wexell,
Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have several players who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, starting with the great Jack Butler, but I am stunned that the exceptionally athletic Dermontti Dawson -- with his ninja-like hand movement and startling mobility -- didn't make the semifinals the last two years. I'm worried that he's being discriminated against because there are too many Steelers in the Hall already. 

Charlie Sanders over the classy Dermontti Dawson? What a joke.

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