Who's ticketed for Canton?   

Updated: August 2, 2007, 4:23 PM ET

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By Thomas Neumann and Scott Symmes

Mort. Stats Team Upside Int. Total
10 10 10 12 12 54

31. Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu
There are good reasons Pittsburgh used the 16th overall pick in the 2003 draft on Polamalu. He has tremendous instincts and the speed to cover large chunks of the field. Polamalu has been named to the Pro Bowl three times in his first four seasons and he was a key defensive component of Pittsburgh's Super Bowl XL championship season. Polamalu was the only safety identified in the first round of the '03 draft, but seven safeties have been selected in the first round of the past two drafts combined, as Polamalu and Ed Reed have emerged into stars.

Mort. Stats Team Upside Int. Total
16 16 8 10 4 54

32. Randy Moss

Randy Moss
Few players get the opportunity to reinvent their image nine years into their career. But for that reason, Moss gets a high upside mark. He has the legitimate opportunity to win a Super Bowl with the Patriots and shake his reputation as a moody, selfish player. Moss already ranks fifth in career touchdowns and he could move into the top 20 in career receptions and the top 15 in receiving yards this year. He has been named to five Pro Bowls -- all with Minnesota -- and winning a ring could make him a Hall of Fame lock.

Mort. Stats Team Upside Int. Total
12 12 4 12 14 54

33. Ed Reed

Ed Reed
Reed has the proven ability to change games with big hits, big plays, run-stopping ability and tremendous coverage skills. He has scored seven touchdowns and averaged 5.4 interceptions and 65 tackles over his first five seasons. Reed already has been named to three Pro Bowls and was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. Although he doesn't yet have a Super Bowl ring like AFC North counterpart Troy Polamalu, Reed has the speed and versatility to possibly be considered the finest safety in NFL history one day.

Mort. Stats Team Upside Int. Total
10 4 4 20 16 54

34. Reggie Bush

Reggie Bush
Reggie Bush isn't going to barge his way to NFL stardom as a bruising, between-the-tackles bully in the Earl Campbell mold. That's no secret. But Bush's agility, speed and soft hands make him one of the most explosive players in the league. His 88 receptions last season are the third-most by a rookie in NFL history and the most ever by a rookie running back. Teamed with an offensive core of Drew Brees, Marques Colston and Deuce McAllister in New Orleans, it's not difficult to imagine Bush getting the chance to play for a Super Bowl ring in the near future.

Mort. Stats Team Upside Int. Total
12 12 16 3 10 53

35. Ty Law

Ty Law
Law might not be the face of the Patriots dynasty, but he has a special place in Patriots lore nonetheless. Law returned an interception 47 yards for the first touchdown of Super Bowl XXXVI and intercepted Peyton Manning three times in the 2003 AFC Championship Game. He's the active leader in career interceptions with 50, and he also has six career postseason picks -- five against Manning. In addition to his Super Bowl rings and reputation for delivering in big games, Law has led the league in interceptions twice and has been named to five Pro Bowls.

Mort. Stats Team Upside Int. Total
16 16 12 8 0 52

36. Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens
If not for all of Owens' well-documented baggage, he might already have Canton-worthy credentials. He ranks fourth in career receiving touchdowns and has been named to five Pro Bowls. At this point, though, he's likely to lose support based on his divisive reputation. But if Owens can pad his stats for a couple more seasons without generating more negative publicity -- or if he plays a key role on a Super Bowl winner, which is entirely possible for Dallas coming out of the wide-open NFC -- then start chisling him in bronze.

Mort. Stats Team Upside Int. Total
12 14 10 8 8 52

37. Edgerrin James

Edgerrin James
At the crossroads of his career last offseason, James took the money and ran to Arizona. He topped 1,000 rushing yards in his first season with the Cards, but his average yards per carry dipped to a career-low 3.4, while his former teammates in Indianapolis proved they could win the Super Bowl without him. So it's possible that Edge, who turns 29 in August, is near the end of the line. Nevertheless, if James can average 1,000 yards on the ground over the next two seasons, he would pass Jim Brown on the all-time list. It's a feat that would have to merit consideration for Canton.

Mort. Stats Team Upside Int. Total
6 11 2 16 17 52

38. Carson Palmer

Carson Palmer
The No. 1 overall pick in 2003, Palmer has shown he's one of the most gifted passers in the game. Playing on a reconstructed knee in 2006, Palmer threw for a career-high 4,035 yards. He has completed 63.8 percent of his passes and 78 touchdowns to just 43 interceptions in three seasons as a starter. As long as he stays healthy and the Bengals continue to surround him with playmakers, Palmer has the makings of an all-time great.

Mort. Stats Team Upside Int. Total
10 3 0 20 18 51

39. Vince Young

Vince Young
Young was the runaway choice for Offensive Rookie of the Year, helping the Titans rally from 0-5 to 8-8. He led four come-from-behind victories and became the first rookie quarterback to rush for more than 500 yards. Young's critics point to his accuracy as his primary shortcoming, but his completion percentage improved with each season at Texas, including a jump to 65.2 percent as a junior. He also went from a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 6-to-7 as a freshman to 12-11 as a sophomore and 26-10 as a junior. Young is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. He just needs the Titans to put some talent around him.

Mort. Stats Team Upside Int. Total
10 0 0 20 20 50

40. Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson
We already can hear you: "The guy hasn't played a snap in The League, and you're putting him in Canton?" In a word: YES. Johnson possesses such an elite skill-set that, barring injury, it's difficult to imagine him not becoming a dominant NFL wideout. The perception is that there isn't a lot of talent in Detroit to help Johnson. But with a solid possession receiver in Roy Williams holding down the other side of the field in Mike Martz's pass-happy scheme, it's entirely possible that Johnson is the missing piece to make the Lions into a formidable offense for years to come -- assuming Detroit gets him into camp.

Cantonized: Hall of Fame predictions

Selections 1-10
Selections 11-20
Selections 21-30
Selections 41-50
On the bubble
Odd men out
The list: 1-50



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50 Future Hall of Famers

• Cantonized: Selections Nos. 1-10
• Cantonized: Selections Nos. 11-20
• Cantonized: Selections Nos. 21-30
• Cantonized: Selections Nos. 31-40
• Cantonized: Selections Nos. 41-50
• Cantonized: The list 1-50


• 10 players on the Canton bubble
• 10 big names who won't be Hall of Famers

Video analysis ESPN Video

• Ron Jaworski on quarterback selections
• Floyd Reese on running back selections
• Sean Salisbury on receiver/tight end selections
• Mark Schlereth on offensive line selections
• Mike Golic on defensive line selections
• Tom Jackson on linebacker selections
• Eric Allen on defensive back selections

Audio analysis

• Jeremy Green, John Clayton and Michael Smith dissect selections 1-25 | 26-50, bubble players

Photo gallery

• Zoom gallery of top-10 selections


• Vote: Who is bound for Canton?

Ratings key

We rated players on a 100-point scale in five categories worth up to 20 points each:

Mortality -- 10 possible points based on injury history (the more durable the player, the higher the score) and 10 possible points based on how close he would be to the Hall of Fame if an injury ended his career today.

Statistics -- Statistical milestones, awards, records and Pro Bowl appearances.

Team success -- Super Bowl victories and appearances, playoff appearances and victories, top playoff seeds earned.

Upside -- Perceived statistical potential based on age, skill, talent, fitness and durability. This includes potential to break records, climb statistical lists and earn Pro Bowl selections.

Intangibles -- Anything not covered by the other four categories, for instance: leadership, reputation, team success potential, superstar potential and positional representation in the Hall of Fame.

Order of tiebreakers: 1. Team; 2. Statistics; 3. Mortality