Hall of Fame look ahead: Torry Holt

February, 10, 2014
Feb 10
5:00
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Torry HoltAP Photo/Chuck BurtonWidely underappreciated as a wide receiver, does Torry Holt have the numbers to get into the Hall of Fame?

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Former St. Louis Rams safety Aeneas Williams is part of this year's class of Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees. Williams isn't likely to be remembered as much for his time with the Rams as he was with the Arizona Cardinals, but for those wanting a player with a longer track record of playing for the Rams to get in, the time is coming soon.

The Greatest Show on Turf version of the Rams had no shortage of Hall of Fame candidates. Running back Marshall Faulk was the first to go in, but now the rest of the group is coming eligible. That should make for some tough decisions for the committee in the next couple of years but there are multiple Rams with a legitimate case to get in.

Last week, we explored the cases for offensive tackle Orlando Pace, quarterback Kurt Warner and receiver Isaac Bruce. We finish the series today with a look at the youngest of the group, wide receiver Torry Holt.

Much like his running mate Bruce, Holt probably never got the recognition he deserved on a national scale for just how dominant he was. In fact, a legitimate argument could be made that Holt was the league's best and most consistent receiver from 2000 to 2005.

Also like Bruce, Holt was never one to draw attention to himself. Gregarious and good-natured, Holt was outgoing but far from the diva receiver that seemed to pop up all over the league during his prime. Year to year, Holt simply followed the lead of Bruce, going about his business and racking up numbers.

When all was said and done, Holt was a seven time Pro Bowl selection, was first team All Pro in 2003 and second team in 2006. For his career, Holt finished with 920 catches for 13,382 yards and 74 touchdowns. At first glance, those numbers don't stack up to many of the top wideouts of his era. As it stands, he's 15th in career receptions, 12th in yards and 30th in touchdowns.

But in reality, those numbers are only skewed by something completely out of Holt's control: a balky knee that didn't allow him to play as long as some of his contemporaries. Holt played just 11 seasons, five less than Bruce, for example.

In my view, that shouldn't preclude Holt from getting a Hall of Fame nod, though. The Hall of Fame is meant for players who dominated the game and were among the best at what they did for a substantial period of time. Holt meets that criteria.

Holt holds the NFL records for most consecutive seasons with 90 catches and 1,300 receiving yards, marks he hit six straight times in the early 2000s. He's one of only three receivers, along with Marvin Harrison and Calvin Johnson to have two or more seasons with 1,600 receiving yards. He also holds the NFL record for most receiving yards in a decade, posting 12,594 from 2000 to 2009.

A decade of dominance may not represent the longevity of a guy like Jerry Rice or Bruce but it should be enough to get Holt into the Hall of Fame. What it will likely mean, however, is that Holt will have to wait awhile to gain induction.

As we've mentioned before, there is a logjam of wide receivers forming and the line is only going to get longer in the coming years. Cris Carter and Andre Reed going in on consecutive ballots is a good sign for Holt but he's still probably going to have wait awhile before his time comes. Even with Carter and Reed going in, next year's ballot will include Holt, Bruce, Tim Brown and Marvin Harrison. Terrell Owens becomes eligible the following year and Randy Moss would loom a couple years after.

Having so many deserving Rams at the same time also could work against Holt. Voters are unlikely to put multiple Rams in the same class and almost certainly not more than two at a time. It seems probable that Warner and Pace would get the nod before Holt and Bruce given the relative lack of competition at their positions.

At some point, Holt will probably get the call to join his Greatest Show brethren but like Bruce will probably have to have a little patience.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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