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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN lists Richard Sherman as most-likely 49ers player to make the Hall of Fame, while George Kittle has ‘work to do’

Aug 5, 2020 at 6:04 AM--

Bill Barnwell of ESPN went team-by-team to project potential future Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees for each. How do you do that for a team like the New York Jets? Well, they do have running back Frank Gore on the roster. Barnwell lists him as "likely" to be a future inductee.

What about the talent-depleted Miami Dolphins? Yeah, that one is harder. Barnwell couldn't come up with anyone who had more than a 10 percent chance to one day earn Hall of Fame honors.

For the San Francisco 49ers, the decision was pretty easy. The ESPN writer lists veteran cornerback Richard Sherman as "likely" to make the Hall of Fame, which means he has between a 70 and 99 percent chance, in Barnwell's opinion.

"Sherman has a strong case as the best cornerback of the decade and was an essential piece of what was likely the best defense of the decade," Barnwell explained. "I think his five-year peak with the Seahawks probably would have been enough to get him in, but earning a sixth Pro Bowl trip with the 49ers last season only helped his chances. One more Pro Bowl would probably do the trick."

While Barnwell believes Sherman could use another Pro Bowl on his resume, most would probably tell you that, given his already impressive accomplishments, Sherman is probably a lock to be a first-ballot inductee.

So what about the 49ers' All-Pro tight end George Kittle?

His relatively short career so far merely puts him in the "work to do" category. It's hard to argue against that. At his current pace, Kittle is a shoo-in to one day put on a gold jacket. He just needs to keep the pace.

Kittle has only been in the league for three years. He has, however, posted back-to-back seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving and set the NFL record for most single-season receiving yards by a tight end along the way.

"Kittle is the best all-around tight end in football right now, and if you could tell me right now that he would have a 12-year career, I'd expect him to be a Hall of Famer," wrote Barnwell. "If his career only lasts six or seven seasons, though, he'll have to be a perennial All-Pro to make it to Canton. Given his style, I worry about his aging curve versus that of tight ends who are basically glorified wide receivers."

Barnwell lists new 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams as "in the running," which means he has a 40 to 69 percent chance, in the ESPN writer's estimation.

"It's possible to make the Hall of Fame as a lineman without an All-Pro appearance, but the only guy to do it since the merger is Jackie Slater," wrote Barnwell. "Williams needs a couple of high-profile seasons as the best left tackle in football, which is tough with Tyron Smith around. He'll have a better shot reuniting with Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco."

Defensive end Nick Bosa has played just one NFL season, but it was an impressive one. His rookie campaign earned him NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, and Barnwell mentions him in this little exercise.

Bosa falls under the "work to do" category.

"Bosa won Defensive Rookie of the Year, which hasn't been quite as big of a boon as you might think," Barnwell explained. "Just six of 32 Hall-eligible winners made it to Canton, although that's going to rise in the years to come as the likes of Charles Woodson and Julius Peppers win enshrinement."

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