Who are the 10 new NFL players eligible for Pro Football Hall of Fame balloting?

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New faces hoping for Canton

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

The list of eligible former NFL players to be voted on for the 2022 Class of the NFL Hall of Fame was released Wednesday. A lot of familiar names are up for election into Canton, Ohio. Ten players are first-time hopefuls. Who, if any, will be first-ballot HOFers?

Anquan Boldin

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Anquan Boldin played for 5 teams over 14 seasons. He had 1,076 receptions and was a three-time Pro Bowler. Boldin was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2003 and Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2015. Don’t see him being voted in this go-round, though.

Devin Hester

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One of the greatest kick returners in NFL history, Devin Hester was a threat in all three phases of the game. A four-time Pro Bowler, plus he earned a spot on the All-Decade Team for the 2000s and 2010s. He had 255 receptions for 3,311 receiving yards. Add in 11,028 return yards with 20 — 20!!! — touchdowns. Would absolutely love to see him voted in with the Class of 2022.

Steve Smith Sr.

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Steve Smith was a five-time Pro Bowler. He played for the Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens, and led the league in receiving yards in 2005 (Smith was co-leader in receptions and touchdowns that season). Overall, he had 1,031 receptions, 14,731 receiving yards and 81 touchdowns. He also had 4,055 return yards and 6 return TDs. I believe he will make it.

Jake Long

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The four-time Pro Bowler played for four teams and started 99 of the 104 games he played. The No. 1 overall pick in 2008 out of Michigan had a solid career,. but there is zero chance this go-round for a Hall of Fame nod.

Nick Mangold

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A seven-time Pro Bowler, Nick Mangold spent his entire career with the New York Jets. He played in 164 games and started them all. Another unlikely first-ballot HOFer.

DeMarcus Ware

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A Super Bowl champion and nine-time Pro Bowler with the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos, DeMarcus Ware had 138.5 sacks during his amazing career. He also forced 35 fumbles and made 3 interceptions. Start working on his bust. Now!

Robert Mathis

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Robert Mathis played his entire career with the Indianapolis Colts. He was a Super Bowl champ (XLI) and had 123 sacks from 2003-16. He forced 52 fumbles and recovered 17. Plus he had an interception and 3 TDs. A strong case for him to be voted into Canton—just not sure both Ware and Mathis get in with the same class.

Vince Wilfork

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The man in the middle was a two-time Super Bowl champion, playing most of his career on the New England Patriots’ defensive line. Vince Wilfork made four Pro Bowls. He had 16 sacks, 26 pass deflections, and recovered 12 fumbles. Probably gets in, eventually, but not immediately.

Antonio Cromartie

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The DB was a four-time Pro Bowler. He is tied for the longest play in NFL history at 109 yards. He scored 6 touchdowns and had 31 picks. Highly unlikely he gets in.

Andre Johnson

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Andre Johnson had 1,062 receptions and scored 70 touchdowns for Houston, Indianapolis and Tennessee. This class is loaded with receivers. Some aren’t getting in as first-timers.

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