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The 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame Voting Preview: Defensive Linemen

By Bryan Dietzler

The voting for the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame is going to take place in about two months and there is a lot of speculation as to who is going to get in. The field is going to be expanded a little to allow more former players in so any of these guys are a possibility to get in.

The following is a list of the 11 semi-finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame voting taking place early next year. We are going to look at them based upon stats and honors to include how many games they played in, how many they started in, how many years they played as well as how many tackles and sacks they had. Finally, we will consider the honors that the player achieved during their time in the league.

Richard Seymour-DT

A finalist last year, Richard Seymour could get in this year. He spent his 12-year career with both the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders. Seymour started in 157 of the 164 games that he played and recorded 57.5 sacks to go along with 496 combined tackles. He was named to the Pro Bowl seven times and a first-team All-Pro three times.

With a background like Seymour has, he’s all but guaranteed a spot in the Hall of Fame. I think he will get into the Hall in 2020 easily.

Justin Smith-DE

Justin Smith played his football with the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers. He started in 217 of the 221 games that he played in during his long 14-year career. Combined, between the two teams that he played for, Smith registered 87 sacks and 880 combined tackles. When it comes to honors, Smith was named to five Pro Bowls and one first-team All-Pro.

Smith has what it takes to get into the Hall but he just might have to wait a little bit to get in there. There are guys ahead of him that have had a little bit better career but don’t count him out. He will get in someday.

John Abraham-DE

John Abraham played most of his 15-year career with the Atlanta Falcons but also played with the New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals. He played in a total of 195 games with 175 starts. Abraham had 133.5 sacks and 547 tackles. He received Pro Bowl honors five times and was named to the All-Pro team twice.

Abraham was the epitome of longevity in the NFL. He has the production that you would look for at his position but may not have the all-star credentials that you would expect for someone that stayed in the league as long as he did. He will get into the Hall of Fame, perhaps sooner than later but he’s going to get in.

Chester McGlockton-DT

Chester McGlockton played half of his 12-year career with the Raiders, then spent some time with Kansas City, Denver, and the New York Jets. He played in 179 games with 151 starts. He accumulated 51 sacks and 554 tackles. McGlockton was named to four Pro Bowls and had one first-team All-Pro honor during his career.

Like Abraham, McGlockton had a long career but didn’t quite have the all-star resume that some others have in their long careers. Like Abraham before him, I suspect that McGlockton will get in at some point but may have to wait a little while to do so.

La’Roi Glover-DT/NT

La’Roi Glover was a well-known defensive and nose tackle for the Dallas Cowboys but he played for a few other teams during his 13-year career. He also played for the Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and the New Orleans Saints. Glover started in 167 of the 193 games he played. He recorded a total of 83.5 sacks to go along with 551 tackles. Glover was named to the Pro Bowl six times and was named to two All-Pro teams.

Glover belongs in the Hall. He was a productive player that played on some good Cowboys teams. He played consistently and played well. Look for him to get into the Hall sooner than later.

Simeon Rice-DE

Simeon Rice played a total of 13 years in the NFL, mostly with the Arizona Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also had short stints with Denver and Indianapolis. Rice played in 174 games starting 161 of them. He registered 122 sacks and had 471 tackles. Rice was named to the Pro Bowl a total of three times and was named an All-Pro once.

Rice was very productive but just didn’t receive the recognition that he might have deserved because of the teams that he played on. I would think that Rice will get a solid shot to get into the Hall of Fame and could make it in at some point. I would suspect he will get in a little further down the road.

Casey Hampton-DT/NT

Casey Hampton played his entire career in the NFL, which spanned 12 years, with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played in 173 games starting 164 of them registering nine sacks and 373 tackles. He was a great guy up the middle of that Steeler defense and helped shut down the run. As far as honors go, Hampton was named to five Pro Bowls but no All-Pro teams.

Hampton doesn’t have the accolades that some of the others on this list do and that could slow him down in terms of getting into the Hall. While he won’t get in over guys like Seymour and Glover, he appears to be a player that may sit and wait a few years before he gets into the Hall of Fame.

Greg Townsend-DT/NT

Greg Townsend played a bulk of this football with the Raiders. He played 12 years with the Raiders and one year with the Philadelphia Eagles. He started 102 of 190 games registering 109.5 sacks to go along with 363 tackles. In terms of honors, Townsend went to the Pro Bowl twice and was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie team once.

Townsend played in the NFL for a long time and had somewhat of a quiet career. He didn’t receive many honors but his play was solid. I think that he will have a bit of a wait to get into the Hall of Fame but it shouldn’t be too long.

Leslie O’Neal-DE

Leslie O’Neal played 13 years in the NFL. Nine of those years were spent with the San Diego Chargers while he played two years with both the St. Louis Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs. During his career, O’Neal took part in 196 starting 178 of them. When it came to All-Star honors, he was named to the Pro Bowl six times to go along with several other smaller honors.

Again, we have an example of a player that played a long time but doesn’t have a bevy of honors to back himself up. His six Pro Bowls are great but the lack of All-Pro status kind of takes away from some of what he was able to do on the field where he shined. I think that O’Neal will get in some time but it’s not going to be right away.

Neil Smith-DE

Neil Smith was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs for nine years. a member of the Denver Broncos for three years and was with the San Diego Chargers for a year. During that time, he played in 191 games starting 162 of those. He recorded 104.5 sacks and 623 total tackles. Smith was voted to the Pro Bowl six times and was named to the All-Pro team once.

Smith had a great career and should be a member of the Hall of Fame. He has the credentials, the longevity and the success to be an early entrant into the Hall. Look for Smith to get in sooner rather than later.

Bryant Young-DT

Most everyone will remember Bryant Young from his days with the San Francisco 49ers with whom he spent his entire 14-year career. During his time in the league, he started in all 208 games he played in and managed to get 89.5 sacks and 614 tackles. In regards to honors, he was a Pro Bowler four times and an All-Pro once.

Making the Pro Bowl only four times in his career doesn’t make Young have a good case for Hall of Fame voters. While they will like his longevity, he wasn’t consistent. He was productive on the field but he just didn’t catch the eye of those that put players in the Pro Bowl or vote on the All-Pro team. I think Bryant will get in at some point, just not right away.

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