NFC South: Bruce Smith
Nos. 26 through 50 came out today and the NFC South virtually was shutout. There’s only one NFC South player on the list and that’s Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez at No. 37. But Gonzalez was drafted 13th overall by the Chiefs in 1997 and spent most of his career in Kansas City.
As I said yesterday, I see some real flaws with this and that continues today. I’m looking at today’s list and seeing guys like Earl Campbell, Joe Namath, Bruce Smith and O.J. Simpson on there. All those guys were great players -- no argument at all. But each of those four was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
The whole premise of this thing is supposed to be value. Campbell, Namath, Smith and Simpson did precisely what they should have done as No. 1 picks. But, if we’re talking pure value, I think a guy like Warren Sapp in the middle of the first round or a guy like Derrick Brooks at the end of the first round is a better value.
Sapp and Brooks are on this team already. They were listed in the bottom third that came out Monday. But I think, based on value, they should be on the list for the top 25, which presumably comes out Wednesday.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
TAMPA, Fla. -- Claude Humphrey has been on the Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot for 23 years and I thought this might be the year he broke through.
Humphrey, who spent most of his career playing with the Falcons, had the powerful endorsement of the Senior Committee and I thought that might put him over the top. It didn't happen.
Humphrey wasn't one of the six new members elected Saturday. I'm not old enough to really remember Humphrey as a player, although I did collect (and still have) trading cards from near the end of his career. I do know playing on some mediocre Atlanta teams didn't help Humphrey's profile.
It's also pretty apparent Humphrey's chances were hurt by the competition this year. Defensive end Bruce Smith got in on his first year on the ballot. Can't argue with that one at all. Smith set the record with 200 career sacks. The late Derrick Thomas, who technically was a linebacker whose main job was to rush the passer, also was selected. I've thought that one was long overdue.
But I think Thomas' selection shows Humphrey is at least very close to being a Hall of Famer. Thomas finished his 11-year career with 126.5 sacks. Humphrey had 122 sacks in 14 seasons. Humphrey's numbers might not be Hall of Fame numbers today, but they're at least in the ballpark.