by Bryan Dietzler
The list of players that are eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame has been released. Now the speculation begins. Who will make it into the Hall of Fame? Everyone has an opinion and sometimes, opinions matter when it comes to voting.
But I like dealing with the statistics behind the player and with the offensive linemen we are about to review, stats are necessary. When evaluating the player, we are going to use his longevity as well as how many Pro Bowls or All-Pro teams the player made. That will help us to figure out which offensive lineman might make the Hall of Fame sooner than later.
Here is a look at the 19 finalists for the Hall of Fame that are offensive linemen.
Tony Boselli (OT)
Tony Boselli was a finalist last year and could be a shoo-in this year. He played his entire seven-year career with the Jaguars. Boselli made it to five Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro three times. He played in 91 games and started 90 of those games.
Boselli didn’t play a long time but his seven-year career was a good one. He deserves a spot in the Hall and should get in sooner than later.
Steve Wisniewski (OG)
Steve Wisniewski played his entire career with the Raiders participating in 206 games with 206 starts. During his 13-year career, Wisniewski was named to eight Pro Bowls, named All-Pro two times and was named to various media All-Star teams. His consistency was impeccable.
Look for him to get in soon. I would think that he could be a finalist this year, at the least but he should be in the Hall of Fame. He had a Hall of Fame career and deserves to be in it, hands down.
Kent Hull (C)
Kent Hull is well known for his career with the Buffalo Bills, for whom he played with for his entire 11-year career. During his time in Buffalo, Hull was a starter in 169 of the 170 games he played in. He was selected to the Pro Bowl three times and was named an All-Pro twice.
Consistency was Hull’s mantra during his time in the NFL and he deserves to be in the Hall. Look for him to get in soon. Electing him to the Hall is a no brainer.
Chris Samuels (OT)
Chris Samuels was an offensive tackle for the Washington Redskins during his entire ten-year career. Out of the 141 games Samuels played in, he started them all. He was named to six Pro Bowls and was even part of the NFL’s all-rookie team in his first year in the league.
A quiet contributor that helped out a lot on offense and should be considered an important part of those Redskins offenses of the early 2000s. I don’t believe that Samuels makes an incredibly strong case for selection into the Hall of Fame over a few of the guys on this list but he can and will be considered. He just can’t get in over guys like Boselli or Wisniewski.
Willie Anderson (OT)
Willie Anderson played his football with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens during his 13-year NFL career. Anderson started 184 of the 195 games he played in. He was a part of four Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams.
Anderson had a long and successful career but not as successful as some of the guys that we have already profiled. While voters may like his longevity his star power is lacking, somewhat, and there are other linemen that appear to be, at the least, a little worthier than Anderson. Perhaps someday he will get selected but not right away.
Alan Faneca (OG)
Alan Faneca played 13 years in the league for three teams. He spent most of his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers but also spent some time with the New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals. Faneca played in 206 games starting 201 of them. He was selected to nine Pro Bowls and six All-Pro teams.
Faneca was a finalist in last year’s voting and could finally get pushed over the top and get into the Hall. He’s got a very strong case and deserves it. Look for him to get in sooner rather than later.
Lincoln Kennedy (OT/OG)
Lincoln Kennedy spent the first three years of his 11-year career with the Atlanta Falcons then went on to play eight years with the Oakland Raiders. During his time in the NFL, Kennedy started 141 of 169 games. He was selected to three Pro Bowls and was added to the 1993 NFL All-Rookie team in his first year in the league.
Kennedy’s resume doesn’t quite have the “pop” that guys like Faneca have so he may have to wait a bit to get into the Hall. Kennedy was a very good player but wasn’t quite as good as some of the other guys on this list.
Olin Kreutz (C)
This former Chicago Bear spent almost his entire career, all but four games, with the Bears. The four games he didn’t spend with the Bears were spent with the New Orleans Saints. Kreutz abruptly quit football when he was with the Saints having lost his passion for the game. Kreutz played 195 games starting 187 of them. He was selected to six Pro Bowls and made the All-Pro team once.
Kreutz is one of the most solid centers of the modern era and it showed with his six Pro Bowl selections. While he did not make the All-Pro team that often, he was consistent and played very well. I would think that he would get into the Hall but perhaps in a few years depending on what the “field” of offensive linemen looks like in the future.
Matt Birk (C)
Matt Birk is well known for his playing time with the Minnesota Vikings but he also played for the Baltimore Ravens. Birk played 14 years in the league and participated in 210 games with 187 starts. He was selected to the Pro Bowl six times.
Birk is another one of those players that had a long and solid career in the NFL and deserves some consideration. He did miss an entire season due to a hip injury but that shouldn’t scare voters away from voting for him. I think he gets in sooner rather than later.
Jordan Gross (OT)
Jordan Gross was a member of the Carolina Panthers his entire 11-year career. He played in and started in 167 games for the Panthers at left and right tackle. He was named to three Pro Bowls and was honored as an All-Pro once.
Consistency is the name of the game for Gross as he was very consistent while playing with the Panthers. He was stout at the left tackle position but didn’t make the Pro Bowl more than three times. It’s up in the air as far as what will happen with Gross but it’s probably safe to bet that he won’t get in for a while.
Chris Hinton (G/T)
This well-known Indianapolis Colt also played for a few other teams during his 11 years in the NFL. In addition to the Colts, Hinton also played for the Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, and the Minnesota Vikings. Altogether, he played in 177 games starting 172 of those. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro.
With seven Pro Bowls under his belt, it’s hard not to imagine that voters would be swayed to vote him into the Hall of Fame. I think that Hinton will be in sooner rather than later.
Steve Hutchinson (G)
Steve Hutchinson was a finalist last season and could end up getting in this year. Hutchinson was in the NFL for 11 years and played for both the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks. He started in all 169 games that he played in and earned 7 Pro Bowl trips to go along with being named a first-team All-Pro five times.
As you can see, Hutchinson should easily be added to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I would think that he would get in there either this year or the next. He has one of the best backgrounds of any offensive linemen on this list and should be a shoo-in.
Erik Williams (OT)
Erick Williams played most of his football with the Dallas Cowboys but had year stint in Baltimore with the Ravens. Williams played in 146 games starting 133 of those games. During his 11-year career, he was selected to four Pro Bowls and was named to two All-Pro teams. Not bad at all.
Williams doesn’t have the strong pedigree that some of the other guys on this list have and that means he will probably wait to get into the Hall for a little while longer. But he is near the top in terms of getting in there at some point.
Lomas Brown (OT)
Lomas Brown is a well-known offensive tackle that played for several different teams during his amazing 18-year career in the league. Brown played for the Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played in 263 games starting 251 of those.
Brown was named to seven Pro Bowls and one first-team All-Pro mention during his career. With those kinds of credentials, Brown should be a lock to get into the Hall soon. However, there are some guys ahead of him that have many more honors so Brown will likely have to wait until those guys get before he gets in. But he will be in the Hall someday.
Brian Waters (G)
Brian Waters played his 13 years almost exclusively with the Kansas City Chiefs but he did play one season with the New England Patriots and seven games with the Dallas Cowboys. Some fans may recall that Waters missed the entire 2012 season because he did not report to his team. That may leave a bad taste in the mouths of some Hall of Fame voters.
Waters was selected to six Pro Bowls and was named to the All-Pro team twice. The question that hangs in everyone’s mind, when it comes to Waters being voted into the Hall of Fame, is whether his year-long holdout will have any effect on the voting. Sometimes people don’t like things like this. I think that he gets in, just not right away.
Ray Donaldson (C)
Ray Donaldson played center for three teams in the league. He started with the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts and then went on to play for the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys. During his long 17 career, he started 228 of the 244 games that he played in. Donaldson was named to six Pro Bowls during his career.
Compared to the length of his career, the six Pro Bowls don’t seem like that many. Still, he’s got a lot to back him up and should be under consideration for the Hall of Fame at some point. Should he get in over a Hutchinson, no, but he should get in someday soon.
Richmond Webb (OT)
Richmond Webb played his football with the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals during his 13-year career. He started in 183 of the 184 games he played in and was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times. He was named a first-team All-Pro twice.
With a career like that, Webb must get into the Hall of Fame at some point. He has a much better all-star record than some of the others on this list and had a fantastic career. He should have his bust in the Hall soon.
Kevin Gogan (G/T)
Kevin Gogan played in several different places during his career. He started in Dallas, then went on to Oakland. He played for San Francisco after that then had a one-year stint with the San Diego Chargers. In his 14-year career, Gogan started a total of 179 of 213 games and was named to three Pro Bowls.
As far as longevity goes, Gogan has it and would deserve to get into the Hall of Fame based on that. But production and honors, given as a result of that production, are what the Hall of Fame is based on. Gogan doesn’t quite have the honors that others have. Look for him to not be an immediate entry in the Hall.
Jeff Saturday (C)
Jeff Saturday was a fixture on the Indianapolis Colts for 13 years. He also spent one year in Green Bay. Of the 211 games he played in, he started 202. In terms of honors, Saturday earned six Pro Bowl berths and two All-Pro selections.
If you go ahead and base his entry into the Hall off of honors, he has the pedigree to make it. He was a real stalwart on those great Colts’ lines during the Peyton Manning era and helped lead his team to the playoffs several times. Saturday has to get into the Hall of Fame and he will.
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