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Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Is Jason Taylor a Hall of Famer?

By James Walker

Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor has put together a Hall of Fame résumé. Taylor is sixth all-time in sacks (139.5) and played 15 consistent NFL seasons.

But will Taylor get into the Hall of Fame and can he squeeze in on the first ballot? Those are questions that will be asked about Taylor in the coming years.

Taylor is expected to retire on New Year's Day following the Dolphins' regular-season finale against the New York Jets. He will be eligible for Hall of Fame induction in five years.

I do not have a Hall of Fame vote. But we checked in Wednesday with someone who does: ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton. According to Clayton, the competition is stiff, particularly for pass-rushers, and that will make it tough for Taylor to get in on the first ballot.

"One of the problems that happens is when you have 100-sack guys going against 100-sack guys, they take votes away from each other," Clayton explained. "So sometimes there can be a stall three, four or five years. It depends on who Taylor is coming up against when he's up in five years. Anytime you get 100 sacks you're in the running, but you're also competing with other guys who have 100 sacks. That will probably prevent him from being first ballot, but I think ultimately he can make it. "

Taylor trails only Bruce Smith (200), Reggie White (198), Kevin Greene (160), Chris Doleman (150.5) and Michael Strahan (141.5) on the all-time sack list. Smith and White are already in the Hall of Fame. As Clayton mentioned, Taylor could be competing with other greats like Greene, Doleman and Strahan for votes in several years. But chances look good for Taylor to eventually get a call to Canton.