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Mile High Morning: Which of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 15 Modern-Era finalists will be elected to the Class of 2021?

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The Lead

You know it. I know it. Peyton Manning is as much of a lock as locks get for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In his breakdown for NFL.com, Adam Rank put Manning in his "MORTALEST OF MORTAL LOCKS" tier. Hard to argue with that.

"Manning is considered by some to be the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and he retired with numerous passing records after winning Super Bowl championships with two different franchises," Rank wrote. "There is no need to even discuss his candidacy further."

He also included Charles Woodson in that category, but that leaves us with a maximum of three remaining spots. Will John Lynch get the nod here? Or will he have to become a nine-time finalist (or more?!) before he gets selected?

Lynch doesn't place very highly in Rank's, uh, ranking, but he shares in the sentiment that it's surprising that it's taken this long for him.

"John Lynch is another guy who I think could get in," Rank wrote. "I'm kind of surprised he didn't make it a year ago, when the 49ers made their run to the Super Bowl. And maybe if it doesn't happen this year, he's just never going to get it. How many times can he keep getting passed over?"

I don't know either, but hopefully his run without a knock on the door ends this year.

The full list of Class of 2021 finalists:

  • Jared Allen, former Chiefs, Vikings, Bears and Panthers DE
  • Ronde Barber, former Buccaneers DB
  • Tony Boselli, former Jaguars, Texans T
  • LeRoy Butler, former Packers S
  • Alan Faneca, former Steelers, Jets and Cardinals G
  • Torry Holt, former Rams and Jaguars WR
  • Calvin Johnson, former Lions WR
  • John Lynch, former Buccaneers and Broncos S
  • Peyton Manning, former Colts and Broncos QB
  • Clay Matthews, former Browns and Falcons LB
  • Sam Mills, former Saints and Panthers LB
  • Richard Seymour, former Patriots and Raiders DL
  • Zach Thomas, former Dolphins and Cowboys LB
  • Reggie Wayne, former Colts WR
  • Charles Woodson, former Raiders and Packers S

Below the Fold

The Athletic's Nick Kosmider has a nice breakdown of some names to know for the Broncos' GM search, including Champ Kelly (whose interview with Denver has been confirmed by Joe Ellis) and George Paton (whom the Broncos have reportedly requested to interview). Some other possibilities, according to Kosmider, include former Texans GM Rick Smith and Bills assistant director of college scouting Lake Dawson.

The Unclassifieds

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