Pick sixteen

No need to vote. We went ahead and inducted these current NFL stars.

Originally Published: December 11, 2012
By | ESPN The Magazine

Andre JohnsonDylan Coulter for ESPN The MagazineWR Andre Johnson has the stats for eventual Hall of Fame recognition.

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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.

FIRST-BALLOT LOCKS

QB Tom Brady
Only he and Montana have multiple regular-season and Super Bowl MVPs.

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.

EVENTUAL ENSHRINEES

WR Andre Johnson
Wideout is the toughest issue for us voters. Even terrific players with great numbers (see: Carter, Cris; Bruce, Isaac) have a hard time getting in. Johnson, though, has the stats (should finish in the top 20 for career catches and yards) and was dominant in his era. He'll break through.

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
He'll cause some debate, but it's hard to argue with the longevity (11 Pro Bowls, a record for CBs).

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.

ONE BIG YEAR AWAY

QB Eli Manning
Will have so-so all-time numbers and probably needs one more run to the Super Bowl -- even if it's a loss.

QB Ben Roethlisberger
Has one more Super Bowl trip than Eli but worse stats. Same diagnosis, though: One more deep playoff run and he's in.

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.

TWO MORE BIG YEARS AWAY

QB Aaron Rodgers
Has to pad his numbers, but Rodgers is in the midst of an unprecedented stretch of QB brilliance (104.3 passer rating, highest ever).

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.

CLOSE, BUT NO PLAQUE

DL Vince Wilfork
DL Richard Seymour
DE Julius Peppers
TE Jason Witten
WR Reggie Wayne
DE Justin Tuck
NT Casey Hampton
PK Adam Vinatieri
P Shane Lechler

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