The future is now: Here's what's ahead for the next five Hall-of-Fame classes

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Clark Judge

Most of us know what to expect from the Hall-of-Fame’s Class of 2021: Namely, more first-ballot choices.

And maybe a lot of them.

With Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson eligible for the Hall next year, we could have as many as three first-ballot inductees -- which is what happened in 2018-19. Manning and Woodson are locks, and Johnson is a possibility as a third choice.

But then what? Well, then we have a Class of 2022 that’s wide open, with DeMarcus Ware the most qualified of the first-year candidates, and that could be a clean-up year for finalists who couldn’t crack the upper echelon of 2021.

But don’t take it from me. Here’s your pocket guide to the upcoming classes, with the most notable candidates who will be in their first years of eligibility:

CLASS OF 2021

DE Jared Allen

RB Steven Jackson

WR Calvin Johnson

OL Logan Mankins

QB Peyton Manning

LB Jerod Mayo

TE Heath Miller

CB Charles Tillman

DL Justin Tuck

QB Michael Vick

WR Wes Welker

DT Kevin Williams

DB Charles Woodson

CLASS OF 2022

WR Anquan Boldin

LB Chad Greenway

WR Andre Johnson

C Nick Mangold

DE/LB Mario Williams

QB Tony Romo

DE Robert Mathis

WR Steve Smith

LB DeMarcus Ware

DT Vince Wilfork

CLASS OF 2023

LB Navorro Bowman

S Kam Chancellor

CB Antonio Cromartie

DE/LB Elvis Dumervil

G Jahri Evans

DE/LB Dwight Freeney

LB James Harrison

CB/KR Devin Hester

P Shane Lechler

RB DeMarco Murray

QB Carson Palmer

CB Darrelle Revis

OT Joe Thomas

CLASS OF 2024

TE Antonio Gates

RB Jamaal Charles

TE Rob Gronkowski

DE Chris Long

QB Andrew Luck

PK Sebastian Janikowski

WR Jordy Nelson

DT Haloti Ngata

DE Julius Peppers

RB Jonathan Stewart

C Max Unger

DT Kyle Williams

CLASS OF 2025

LB Lorenzo Alexander

TE Vernon Davis

LB Luke Kuechly

QB Eli Manning

S Eric Weddle

Follow on Twitter @ClarkJudgeTOF

Comments (12)
No. 1-4
Plawren2
Plawren2

First Ballot Predictions:

CLASS OF 2021
QB Peyton Manning
DB Charles Woodson

CLASS OF 2022
LB DeMarcus Ware

CLASS OF 2023
DE/LB Dwight Freeney
OT Joe Thomas

CLASS OF 2024
TE Rob Gronkowski
DE Julius Peppers

CLASS OF 2025
LB Luke Kuechly

Plawren2
Plawren2

LIKELY FUTURE PFHOFers (modern or eventually as senior candidate?)

DE Jared Allen
WR Calvin Johnson
QB Peyton Manning
CB Charles Tillman
DT Kevin Williams
DB Charles Woodson
WR Anquan Boldin
WR Andre Johnson
LB DeMarcus Ware
LB Navorro Bowman
S Kam Chancellor
DE/LB Dwight Freeney
CB/KR Devin Hester
P Shane Lechler
C Nick Mangold
CB Darrelle Revis
OT Joe Thomas
TE Antonio Gates
TE Rob Gronkowski
DE Julius Peppers
LB Luke Kuechly
QB Eli Manning

7 Replies

brian wolf
brian wolf

Great comments Paul, but I am not sure Boldin, Andre Johnson, Chancellor or Bowman make it ... they may have to wait awhile, despite great careers.
I like Steve Smith and Logan Mankins as well, but we will see.
Somebody off the NE offensive line needs to be recognized, and Matt Light was excellent as well.

I thought Willis was better than Kuechly, but very close and feel Kuechly wont be first ballot but we will see.
Wagner will be anticipated as well.

Plawren2
Plawren2

Bowman is 4x all pro-would seem to have reasonable chance eventually, Chancellor is perhaps 50/50 chance; not completely sold on Boldin, Johnson, as voters will have real mess in a few more years with 5 WRs in top 14 career receptions (all 1000+) plus Holt, Calvin Johnson and then Fitzgerald, OL like Mankins-with no all decade team selection, have a real uncertain election future; possible Kuechly short career will hurt 1st ballot case but 5(2) all pro, DROY, DPOY, and All decade team (2010s-assumed) is a pretty impressive resume

brian wolf
brian wolf

I might sound crazy but I don't think Kuechly is done yet. I think he could still join Rivera in Washington. Not so sure Luck is done either but we will see in September.

I like Bowman as well but was his career to short and did he benefit with Willis, though both played excellent ?

Everyone knows Urlacher benefitted with Briggs in Chicago but one was first ballot while the other has to wait, if he ever makes it ...

Plawren2
Plawren2

As to Bowman, although by no means is it always certain, 4x first team all pro, gets your name tossed around as potential PFHOFer, and for Kuechly and Luck (and Gronk) always possible early retired players return, just not so sure that applies to Luck-who is not getting into the Hall, or Kuechly-not sure why he would want to play for Washington over Carolina???

brian wolf
brian wolf

I just think he would rather play for Rivera with a system he knows rather than a new college coaching staff, not to mention a new owner that dumped Rivera quickly.

Though, he may stay retired. We will see.

Plawren2
Plawren2

yea but Washington is far from playoffs and why risk concessions especially with no SB in near future there, I would put odds that he stays retired as health was the reason and those concerns don't simply go away

brian wolf
brian wolf

I understand what you are saying but I truly believe Rivera can be successful his first year with Allen gone. They have a lot of cap space and can better very quickly. The NFC East is weak, especially when Dallas and Philly arent playing up to their potential. Peterson will be back but Haskins has to show dedication.
Kuechly is competitive and come august, I think he will want to play again if Rivera wants him.

Plawren2
Plawren2

points to be taken from those two previous posts:

  1. there will be fewer 1st Ballot PFHOFers than many people may think
    2 there will be fewer future PFHOFers than many people may think
JimmySmith82
JimmySmith82

Jahri Evans should be added to eligibles in 2023, and I think Nick Mangold is actually eligible in 2022, not 2023.


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