NFL

Potential NFL Hall of Famers Under The Age Of 26

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Reaching the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton is every football players dream, but only a few have the talent and dedication to make it become a reality.

As we look at players 26-years-old or younger, there’s a few who have what it takes to wear the gold jacket one day.

Andrew Luck – The former No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft has all the makings of being a Hall of Famer one day. After the fallout with Peyton Manning, the Indianapolis Colts were insanely fortunate to land a quarterback of Luck’s caliber.

During his first three seasons, Luck appeared in every single game, which was good enough for his team to make the playoffs each year and warranted him three Pro Bowl appearances.

Former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel is clearly a fan.

“He’ll go down as the greatest quarterback of all time,” Fassel stated. “The numbers he has already put up as a young quarterback, far superior to anybody else that came in the league in their first four, five or six years the numbers he’s put up. If he keeps at that pace … Whoa!”

This past season, Luck only appeared in seven games, as he battled injuries, but for his career, the former Stanford standout has a touchdown to interception ratio of 101 to 55.

DeAndre Hopkins – The things DeAndre Hopkns have accomplished with dismal quarterback play is simply remarkable.

In 2015, Hopkins caught touchdown passes from four different guys (Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden). For the year, Hopkins caught 111 balls for 1,521 yards to go along with 11 touchdowns, which were all career highs.

Considering the inconsistency under center, it would’ve been easy for Hopkins to complain, but that’s not in his genes.

“They’re in the NFL for a reason,” Hopkins stressed. “So that’s not an excuse for any wide receiver to say I’m not successful or I’m doing something wrong because your quarterback situation.”

When the new season rolls around, Hopkins will be 24 and there’s no telling how high his ceiling is, especially if new signal caller Brock Osweiler lives up to expectations.

Cowboys trio up front – There always seems to be questions surrounding the Cowboys decision making, but area they’ve absolutely nailed recently has been upfront.

Tyron Smith, Zach Martin and Travis Frederick are all under 26, but each of them have already appeared in the Pro Bowl multiple times.

As a team, this past season was rough for Dallas, which is understandable when your star quarterback and receiver both go down for majority of the season.

Nonetheless, this trio was able to create running lanes for the much maligned Darren McFadden.

As long as these three guys stay together, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they’re hall of famers one day.

Odell Beckham Jr. – This was an easy choice.

Following Odell Beckham Jr’s sophomore campaign, the star receiver has totaled 2,744 receiving yards, which surpasses Randy Moss’ previous NFL record of 2,726 yards.

With his unique combination of size and athleticism, the future bolds very well for OBJ.

After his infamous one handed catch against the Dallas Cowboys two years, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton decided to put his game wore jersey on display.

“What an honor for it to be in there,” OBJ admitted. “It’s definitely something to be proud of, but it’s just the beginning for me.”

This could be a sign of things to come.

Patrick Peterson – For some reason it feels like Patrick Peterson has been in the NFL for a lot longer.

Maybe it’s because of his extreme confidence or maybe it’s due to the face he’s reached the Pro Bowl each of his five seasons in the league.

When asked if he’s pick a Super Bowl title or hall of famer induction, Peterson had this to say.

“I’d probably go with the gold jacket,” Peterson said.. “The simple fact is you’d be remembered forever. As a Super Bowl champ, you’d be remembered forever, as well. But the gold jacket, that’s a very small fraternity to get into — I believe it’s in the mid-260s.

“There are a couple hundred busts in the Hall of Fame out of God knows how many players. That’s not a very big number, so I’d rather be in that group than the Super Bowl group, but it would be nice to take home both of them.”

Peterson has defended 57 passes to go along with 17 interceptions for his young career.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.