NFL

What future NFL Draft Prospects could make a run at the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

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The 80th annual NFL Draft is set to begin on April 30th in Chicago and over 250 prospects will get drafted and begin their NFL careers. History tells us that some players will disappoint, some will be good and some will become great. So great that they end their illustrious NFL careers with a trip to Canton to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The 1964 NFL Draft resulted in a record number of players (10) being elected into the Hall of Fame. The list includes Bob Brown (Philadelphia Eagles), Carl Eller (Minnesota), Charley Taylor (Washington Redskins), Paul Warfield (Cleveland Browns), Mel Renfro (Dallas Cowboys), Paul Krause (Washington Redskins), Dave Wilcox (San Francisco 49ers), Bob Hayes (Dallas Cowboys), Leroy Kelly (Cleveland Browns) and Roger Staubach (Dallas Cowboys).

That numbers goes to 11 if you include the seventh round pick by the Detroit Lions (1964) named Bill Parcells. His career as a player never materialized, but Parcells earned his way to the Hall of Fame by coaching in three Super Bowls. He won two Super Bowl titles as the head coach with the New York Giants and lost another has the head coach of the New England Patriots.

As of 2015, 295 individuals have been elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The largest amount of players (102) drafted by round that have busts that reside in Canton have originated from the first round of the NFL Draft. On the opposite end of the spectrum there are 15 players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame that went undrafted.

 Potential Pro Football Hall of Fame Players

 


 

Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: Cooper may not even be the first receiver taken in this NFL Draft. That accolade may fall upon West Virginia’s Kevin White, but that does not mean Cooper is not the best overall prospect at the position. Cooper broke Julio Jones’ freshman record for catches (59) and receiving yards (1,000), and he quickly established himself as one of the nation’s top receivers. Even with the stable of horses in Alabama’s mega-talented backfield, their offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin still made the decision to feed Cooper the football via the passing game. He finished with 124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns during his senior season. Cooper has all the tools and dedication to make Canton a real possibility.

 

Danny Shelton, DT, Washington: He looks like a lock to be a Pro Bowl caliber player from an evaluation stand point. Shelton was ridiculously productive his senior season accumulating 89 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. His biggest asset at the next level is playing the zero technique like another possible Hall of Fame player in Houston Texans’ recently acquired defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. Shelton abuses offensive linemen and has the ability to push the pocket back. He has the upside to become the best player of this entire draft class.

 

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: Even as Gurley rehabs from his November ACL tear he still is in the running, no pun intended, to be the top running back drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft. Gurley is considered by many NFL Scouts as the best prospect at the position since Adrian Peterson entered the league in 2007 with the seventh overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings. The 6-foot-1, 230 pound former Bulldogs running back has too many can not miss attributes that include exceptional vision, power and speed. Gurley will aim to be the third Georgia Bulldogs player to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 

Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson: He checked in at 246 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine after playing most of his senior season around 225 pounds. Beasley recorded 25 sacks and 44.5 tackles for loss according to College Football Reference. He made the NFL Scouting Combine his platform to erase any questions about his athleticism. Beasley ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds, and benched pressed 35 times. His speed transfers to the tape, and it could be argued that Beasley might possess the quickest first step in this entire draft class. He could become one of the leagues elite pass-rushers. Rushing the passer and recording sacks is a quick ticket to the Hall of Fame for any defensive player.

 


 

 

The observation and prediction on who may eventually end up in Canton came down to four players. I was even reluctant to have four players, but figured that number is not out of sorts since there have been 25 drafts that have produced at least four or more Hall of Fame players.

This article will be long forgotten but the careers that are about to unfold amongst this group of players in the draft class will not. This draft class will likely produce at least one player that gets enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only time will tell if this particular draft class has the talent to make a run at the 1964 class who hold the all-time record.


About Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte is an NFL writer for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade. His background includes being staff for the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star game as a talent evaluator for player personnel along with an internship scouting with the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the Canadian Football League. Bo’s draft background includes working for the NFL Draft Bible and currently owns and operates College2Pro.com. He has done radio spots on NBC, Fox Sports and ESPN and their affiliates in different markets around the country. Bo covers the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Panthers along with other colleges in the northeast.