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|WR Andre Johnson has the stats for eventual Hall of Fame recognition.|
This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Dec. 24 Hall of Fame Issue. Subscribe today!
IF YOU THINK getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is tough, try cracking the exclusive club of 44 voters that selects the five honorees every year. That's what we're here for, though. We had one anonymous voter break down the Hall of Fame chances of NFL stars with at least five years in the league. Here is a rundown of who he thinks are locks to get busts in Canton, others who still need to bust their humps and a few whose Hall hopes will end up as busts.
LB Ray Lewis
Not the best LB ever, but he's in that conversation.
QB Peyton Manning
Five-time All-Pro, has a Super Bowl ring. Enough typed.
TE Tony Gonzalez
Some TEs may one day top his stats, but he's a pioneer for the position.
S Troy Polamalu
Always a slog for safeties to get in, but he was a rare game-changing DB.
S Ed Reed
Similar impact as Polamalu, but Reed has stats (61 INTs, 13 TDs) on his side.
LB Dwight Freeney
Pass rushers with 100 sacks tend to get in. Freeney is at 104.5 with a Super Bowl ring.
LB DeMarcus Ware
See above. Ware has 109.5 and is only 30 years old.
CB Champ Bailey
DB Charles Woodson
Similar to Bailey, but Woodson has been more dominant: three-time All-Pro and a Super Bowl champ.
LB Brian Urlacher
From 2000 to '05, Urlacher was the league's most explosive defender, and he is a former defensive POY.
QB Drew Brees
Doesn't belong in the same conversation as Brady or Manning, but his numbers (ninth all time in passing yards) and Super Bowl ring will get him in.
WR Randy Moss
In 20 years, Moss' career stats won't look great. But nobody can argue with his game-breaking 1998-2003 run.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
Will have stats and accolades to get in, but he'll have to wait awhile because of the WR backlog.
G Steve Hutchinson
Sneaky-great player who is a seven-time All-Pro and a member of the 2000s All-Decade team.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
RB Adrian Peterson
Another 1,500-yard season, he's in Canton.
DE Jared Allen
Should close 2012 with more than 115 career sacks, but with only one playoff W, he might need 130.
WR Calvin Johnson
Sure, he's only 27, but Megatron has been the elite player at his position since he entered the league. Witness his 83 receiving ypg, best ever.
DB Ronde Barber
Incredible longevity (16 years, five Pro Bowls, one ring), but Barber needs to add an exclamation point to a great career.
CB Darrelle Revis
Basic stats won't help (19 career INTs), but he has had a Koufax-type run of dominance at the NFL's toughest position.
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