2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame Picks

Lost in the calamity of this past year, I realized I never posted my 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame picks like I have done every year since 2012. This is a bigger class than usual with the special centennial class, which I did predict (not well) on Twitter in December:

I nailed all three contributors, Jimmy Johnson as one of the coaches, but only agreed with 4/10 players chosen. I’m not sure what Don Coryell and Randy Gradishar could do to ever win voters over at this point. I’m also hoping that with a trend towards shorter careers for star players, they’ll give more attention to Sterling Sharpe as a senior nominee in the near future since he’s eligible for that.

Here are the 15 finalists for the modern class of 2020:

  • Troy Polamalu
  • Edgerrin James
  • Zach Thomas
  • Bryant Young
  • Richard Seymour
  • John Lynch
  • Steve Atwater
  • LeRoy Butler
  • Reggie Wayne
  • Torry Holt
  • Isaac Bruce
  • Sam Mills
  • Tony Boselli
  • Alan Faneca
  • Steve Hutchinson

First I want to say that I’m a bit surprised that Patrick Willis did not make it this far on his first ballot. That could be an example of the short career (he played eight seasons and missed 10 games in the final one) hurting a player’s candidacy, but I imagine he’ll get in eventually.

Here are the five players I predict will be chosen:

  • Troy Polamalu
  • John Lynch
  • Alan Faneca
  • Isaac Bruce
  • Tony Boselli

With respect to Atwater and Butler, I wasn’t about to pick more than two safeties for one class. I think Polamalu was a special player who the media loved and had a great relationship with, and he was a key part of a defense that was successful for a sustained period of time. He feels like a first-ballot guy to me even though I’ll always think Ed Reed is a better safety. As for Lynch, I’ve been pushing him forward for a few years now because I think his job as GM of the 49ers has helped keep him in the spotlight, and it’s hard to argue that isn’t important when you look at the way Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson made the HOF this year. So with Lynch winning PFWA’s Executive of the Year and the 49ers in the Super Bowl, I think people are going to acknowledge that he’s been close for several years now so let’s just get one more safety out of the room for next year.

There’s also another WR logjam that needs to be dealt with all the time. That’s why I think you go with seniority and take care of Isaac Bruce while Reggie Wayne (first ballot) and Torry Holt continue to wait.

Finally we have a few offensive linemen who have been waiting. Some may definitely prefer Hutchinson to Faneca, and maybe there’s already too many Steelers going in 2020, but I think they’ll take care of Faneca first before going with a tackle in Boselli.

I feel like all 15 players have a good shot of going in some day. Bryant Young, Steve Atwater and Sam Mills may be at the most risk of needing to go in as seniors, but it’s just a matter of time for most of these guys.

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