ESPN’s Barnwell examines Cardinals’ Hall of Fame chances

Aug 8, 2020, 11:50 AM

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)...

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Among all of the individual awards an NFL player can win, none is more encompassing than earning a bronze statue at the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

According to Bill Barnwell of ESPN, three Arizona Cardinals players are on a likely track to earn a bust, while three other players still have some work to do.

Larry Fitzgerald was the only sure-fire lock Barnwell selected from the team to be enshrined. His career totals of 1,378 catches (2nd), 17,083 yards (2nd) and 120 touchdowns (6th) rank him alongside the greatest pass catchers of all time, a prime indicator of Hall of Fame worthiness.

Barnwell slots cornerback Patrick Peterson and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the “likely” category, giving the two players a 70%-99% chance to give speeches in Canton. Both players have been selected to three All-Pro teams and numerous Pro Bowl appearances, however both have slight flaws on their resumes.

For Peterson, last season he was suspended six games for violating the league’s PED policy. Although the nine-year veteran had eight consecutive Pro Bowl appearances, he has failed to record more than three interceptions in a season since 2012 and only has three playoff games on his resume.

If he stays clean and leads the Cardinals to a deep playoff run, Peterson could cement his legacy as a Hall of Famer.

Hopkins has two fewer seasons under his belt than Peterson, but he is still on track to finish with some of the best receiving numbers in league history. After just seven years in the league, Hopkins ranks in the top 100 all-time in terms of receptions and receiving yards.

He has made three consecutive All Pro teams and finished with more than 1,000 receiving yards in five of his seven seasons. However, Barnwell cites a few receivers whose career trajectories fell off after earning three All Pro nominations like Cliff Branch and Herman Moore.

Kyler Murray is hoping to make sure Hopkins stays the course. The Cardinals’ second-year quarterback was categorized alongside safety Budda Baker as players with “work to do” in terms of padding their Hall of Fame resumes.

Both players are early in their career but earning Offensive Rookie of the Year (Murray) and two Pro Bowl appearances in three seasons (Baker) are good ways to start Hall of Fame-worthy careers.

The other Cardinals player mentioned is Chandler Jones who is coming off his fifth-straight season of 10 or more sacks. His 19 sacks last season set a Cardinals franchise record and his 17 sacks in 2017 led the NFL.

Barnwell believes Jones needs to keep his double-digit sack streak alive for a few more seasons before he can stake his claim to Canton.

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