Takeaways for each of the 15 modern-era finalists

Devin Hester (WR/ST, Chicago Bears, 2006-2013; Atlanta Falcons, 2014-15; Baltimore Ravens/Seattle Seahawks, 2016) is my dude. I would put him in the Hall of Fame, no matter what. I know we don't all share this view. Some of you dogged me when I ranked the Class of 2022's 26 semifinalists and put Hester at No. 1. People told me he wouldn't even get this far. Well, Devin was the best at his position. Ever. I know a lot of folks will throw out names like Billy "White Shoes" Johnson and Dante Hall, but let's be serious. Like, Wally Joyner was one of my favorite baseball players of all time. He's not the best first baseman of all time. Tim Salmon was one of my favorites, too. Not the best ever. It's OK to have a favorite and realize he is not the best ever. But Devin certainly is. To me, he should be an automatic pick for Canton. But realistically, I know that might not happen.

DeMarcus Ware (OLB, Dallas Cowboys, 2005-2013; Denver Broncos, 2014-16) is one of those players who kind of snuck up on me. When I saw him on the first-time-eligible list, I wasn't really moved. But when you take a look at his résumé, you see he was a four-time first-team All-Pro. He's a member of the 100-sack club and led the league in sacks twice. He has a real chance here.

And if I'm going to keep it real with you, I'm a fan of Andre Johnson (WR, Houston Texans, 2003-2014; Indianapolis Colts, 2015; Tennessee Titans, 2016). He was amazing. Led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards twice. But he never had double-digit touchdowns in a season. And again -- keeping it real here -- I'm a Steve Smith Sr. guy. I would have put him in over Andre. They didn't ask me, though. I'm not sure if he gets in this time because of the players I'm about to mention in the next category ...

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