22) Henry Ellard, WR (Los Angeles Rams, 1983-1993; Washington, 1994-97, ’98; New England Patriots, 1998): Ellard might be one of the most underappreciated players in NFL history — at least at the receiver position. He was a two-time All-Pro with nearly 14,000 receiving yards in his career, but Ellard’s 1980s and early-’90s Rams teams were overshadowed by the dynastic 49ers.
21) Albert Lewis, CB (Kansas City Chiefs, 1983-1993; Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 1994-98): One of the fastest players in the game. Exceptional defensive back and special teams player. He was a two-time first-team All-Pro. He deserves an extra look because he was great — dude had 42 INTs, after all — but he has some fierce competition.
20) Eric Allen, CB (Philadelphia Eagles, 1988-1994; New Orleans Saints, 1995-97; Oakland Raiders, 1998-2001): Oh, man — it’s great to look back at those awesome Philly defenses from the late 1980s/early ’90s. But it makes you wonder: If the Eagles had won a title in that era, would Allen already be in Canton?
19) Rodney Harrison, S (San Diego Chargers, 1994-2002; New England Patriots, 2003-08): Some people didn’t like his style of play. Not me — I loved the way he competed. Harrison was a two-time first-team All-Pro and also won a pair of titles with the Patriots. The man has a strong case.
18) Robert Mathis, DE (Indianapolis Colts, 2003-2016): He led the NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2013, earning first-team All-Pro honors. He’s a member of the 100-sack club. But can he get in over his QB-hunting partner, Dwight Freeney?
17) Jahri Evans, OG (New Orleans Saints, 2006-2016; Green Bay Packers, 2017): Good to see a guard getting some love from the Hall voters. And maybe I’m part of the problem when it comes to this position’s lack of respect: Should a four-time, first-team All-Pro with a Super Bowl also rank higher on this list?
16) Vince Wilfork, DT (New England Patriots, 2004-2014; Houston Texans, 2015-16): I’d love to see this two-time Super Bowl champ get immortalized in Canton. For the underrepresentation of his position. For the big-time personality. Dude was one of the best, in many ways.
15) Willie Anderson, OT (Cincinnati Bengals, 1996-2007; Baltimore Ravens, 2008): I’ve mentioned this before, but playing in a bad era of Bengals football — SEE: one winning season during Anderson’s tenure — really hurts this hulking tackle’s case. He was great, too, earning three first-team All-Pro designations. Unfortunately, having Joe Thomas join the discussion this year further inhibits Anderson’s chances. I wish this wasn’t the case.
14) Darren Woodson, S (Dallas Cowboys, 1992-2004): LeRoy Butler just got into the Hall of Fame in the Class of 2022, which was the right call, according to me. Woodson, another star safety and Super Bowl champion (three times!), was a criminally underrated part of the 1990s Cowboys dynasty.