The newly eligible players have a heavy defensive emphasis. Joining the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ hard-hitting safety and San Francisco 49ers‘ bone-crunching linebacker for consideration are linemen Justin Smith and John Abraham and linebacker Lance Briggs. The other two in their initial year of eligibility are wide receiver Reggie Wayne and running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Finalists from 2019 who did not get enough support to be among the five modern-era players selected are wide receiver Isaac Bruce; running back Edgerrin James; offensive linemen Alan Faneca, Tony Boselli and Steve Hutchinson; defensive lineman Richard Seymour; and safeties John Lynch and Steve Atwater.
The nominees include 63 offensive players, 43 defensive players and 16 special-teamers.
The class of 2020 will be selected Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl.