February 7, 2023

Last weekend, the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted its 2022 class. This year’s class totals 362 former players, coaches, and contributors who have secured a permanent spot in Canton, Ohio.

Of those 362, only 86 were recruited in the first year of eligibility. That number is likely to rise next summer, as there are several former high-end players in the network who will be eligible for the first time. Up to five modern day players can receive an induction opportunity next summer, while up to three senior contestants and one coach/contributor qualifier can also receive the induction.

So who will be in the induction class next year? Let’s take a look at how you can get rid of them.

** Denotes players who qualify for Year 1

Potential recruits in the modern era

** CB Daryl Reeves (2007-17): “Revis Island” has been nothing but an NFL vacation spot during his 10-year career. The seven-time Pro Bowler routinely shut down the league’s top receivers while making life miserable for the middlemen. He helped New England weather a 10-year Super Bowl drought in 2014 after leading the Jets to back-to-back AFC title games in 2009-2010.

W.R. Andre Johnson (2003-16): The best offensive player in Texas history, the former Miami Hurricane led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards on multiple occasions. He earned seven Pro Bowl nods over 10 years.

** Edge Dwight Freeney (2002-17): A threatening pass rusher was armed with an unbeatable spin. He collected 125.5 bags during his career which included 107.5 as a member of the Colts. He won the Super Bowl with Indianapolis in 2006, and helped the Cardinals reach the NFC Championship game nine years later.

** OL Joe Thomas (2007-17): One of the greatest left tackles in NFL history, Thomas earned 10 consecutive Pro Bowl nods while being named to the 2010 NFL All-Decade Team. Thomas played the “Iron Man” in the modern NFL in 167 games and collected 10,363 consecutive shots.

LB Zack Thomas (1996-08): As an intrusive machine, Thomas earned seven Pro Bowl gestures and five All-Pro gestures over a nine-year period. He counted 1,734 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 17 interceptions (four returned for touchdowns), 16 push-ups and eight recoveries during his 13-year career.

Tori Holt (1999-09): Holt was a key member of the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” attack, the first touchdown in the Rams’ Super Bowl victory over the Titans. Holt enjoyed a long span of statistical excellence that included eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He led the NFL in receiving yards twice and in receptions once.

Top potential recruits

QB Ken Anderson (1971-1986): NFL MVP In 1981, Anderson led the Bengals to the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance that season. Anderson led the NFL in passing yards two times and in the completion percentage three times.

Randy Gradishar (1974-1983): Broncos defensive anchor “Orange Crush” who captained the franchise’s first Super Bowl berth in 1977. Gradishar, a seven-time Pro Bowl player, was the league’s top defensive player in 1978.

D. L. Joe Klecko (1977-1988): The versatile man of the line earned Pro Bowl nods in the defensive end, defensive tackle and nose tackle. He led the NFL with 20.5 sacks in 1981 while serving as a valued member of the New York Sack Exchange Jets defense.

Potential coach/contributor

Robert Kraft: The Patriots have won six Super Bowls since Kraft began ownership of the franchise in 1994. Kraft has also played a key role in several lucrative television contracts while playing a role in settling the league’s 2011 closing down.

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