I fully expect Steve Smith to go to the Hall of Fame. He has accomplished so many things in his career, but I base my prediction in part on what's to come. I also see specific reasons why certain other great receivers are not in the Hall, and Smitty won't have those issues. I'll break it down for you ... after the jump
First of all, let's look at who is not in that should be. I think Cris Carter should be in, but he isn't. He never won any Superbowls. He went to 8 pro bowls, and was All-Pro twice. Many people said he had the best hands and body control of all-time. I truly think he deserves to be in. He is currently 4th all-time in receptions (1101), 8th in yards (13899), and 4th in TD receptions (130). He was the 1999 NFL Man of the Year.
Tim Brown also deserves to be in the HoF. He was a 9-time pro bowler. He was never All-Pro, though. He's 5th all-time in receptions (1094), 4th in yards (14934) and 6th in TD receptions (100). He also never won a Superbowl. He's also 6th in all-purpose yards at 19,679.
Some people say Andre Reed deserves to get in, but I disagree. He was an integral piece, though, to four supoerbowl teams. If he had made a spectacular play to actually help Buffalo win one, things might be different.
I also feel there are other receivers who deserve it more than Reed, but are not yet eligible like Torry Holt, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Isaac Bruce. Somehow, Moss is playing again this year, and I bet he can still run a 4.35 40.
Now let's get to Steve Smith. Let's look at his career numbers. He has 5 pro bowls, and has been named All-Pro twice (same as Carter, more than Brown). His 699 career receptions are 36th all-time. His 10,278 yards are 32nd all-time. His 59 receiving TDs are 71st all-time. His 14,661 all-purpose yards are 32nd all-time. He was the 2005 Comeback Player of the Year. As you can see, he has clearly had a great career. Some people with better career numbers are very good and have longevity. He is truly great. But to get in the Hall, he has a lot more work to do.
I'm gonna make my prediction on what's to come. I think he has four years left. In those four years, he'll get 3 pro bowls, bringing his total to 8...more than Carter, one less than Brown. I expect at least 1 Superbowl win, which is more than Carter, Brown and Reed combined, obviously. And I expect him to move up the all-time lists pretty quickly. In his last three seasons without a QB named Clausen, he averaged 74 catches for 1266 yards and 7 TDs. So if he has average seasons for four more years, he'll finish his career with 995 receptions for 15342 yards and 87 Tds.
So here it is, I think Smitty will get into the Hall of Fame with 8 or 9 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pros, 1 Comeback Player of the Year Award, 1 (minimum) Superbowl ring, 995 rec, 15300+ yards (top 5), 90 tds, and about 20,000 all-purpose yards (top 5). The key is the number of yards, yards per catch and yards after the catch. Being the #1 target for CAM in the Superbowl victory is what's going to push him over the top, and into the Hall of Fame.