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Hall of Fame Power Rankings: Walter Jones tops 25 semifinalists

In November, the 25 modern-era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 were revealed. Now that list is being narrowed to 15 finalists, who will be announced Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on NFL Network during a live special, "Pro Football Hall of Fame: The Final 15."

In the meantime, we asked NFL Media historian Elliot Harrison to rank the 25 semifinalists according to their chances at getting into the Hall this year. Hit up Elliot on Twitter _@HarrisonNFL_ to share your opinion.

1) Walter Jones, OT: This guy was a hoss, and given how other recent big-time, multi-All-Pro linemen have fared (Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen), I see no way Jones is left at the Hall of Fame altar.

2) Michael Strahan, DE: Many were surprised that Strahan missed the cut last year. From what I've heard, that will not happen this time around; the single-season record holder for sacks will be donning a gold jacket come August.

3) Derrick Brooks, LB: Brooks, batting in the three-hole here, is another player I feel is a lock. If Warren Sapp was a first-ballot guy, how could Brooks -- who made 11 Pro Bowl teams, logged six pick-sixes (tied for most among linebackers) and won a Super Bowl ring as Sapp's teammate -- be left off? Come on.

4) Marvin Harrison, WR: Put the off-the-field stuff aside, because the voters are supposed to consider what happened on the field.

5) Charles Haley, DE: I think this is the year for Haley, who has some support and -- more importantly -- the most Super Bowl rings in NFL history (five). Haley also has 100.5 sacks. While that's certainly not the highest number ever, it shows that the guy who helped push two franchises to multiple Lombardi Trophies has enough in the statistical realm.

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Elliot Harrison closely examines the Hall of Fame cases for two accomplished head coaches: Tony Dungy and Jimmy Johnson. **READ**

6) Tony Dungy, coach: While Dungy might end up on the outside looking in this year, his popularity, his status as a man who made a social impact within the coaching ranks, and, of course, his track record will eventually get him to Canton. Dungy probably shouldn't be ahead of Jimmy Johnson on this list, but the thought here is that his overall popularity will push him over the top.

7) Kevin Greene, LB: We love Greene as a player and think he should have received a bust in Canton long ago ... buuuuuuut he won't make it in 2014. Still, keeping his 160 career sacks out of the Hall forever doesn't seem palatable -- or likely.

8) Jerome Bettis, RB: The Hall voters won't be on The Bus this year. Frankly, it's understandable when you look at Nos. 1 through 5 on our list. That said, Bettis deserves his spot at No. 8. Think of how few running backs are coming down the pike who will be able to get anywhere close to Bettis' 13,662 rushing yards ... Well, other than LaDainian Tomlinson, who isn't eligible until 2017.

9) Will Shields, G: Shields might be the one former All-Pro on our Pro Football Hall of Fame Power Rankings many fans don't know. Voters do, though. Shields was a 12-time Pro Bowler.

10) Tim Brown, WR: Some are beginning to wonder if it will ever happen for Brown -- however, the fact that he's been a finalist every year since he became eligible is a relatively strong indication that he'll eventually get in. He also should put some space between himself and Andre Reed over the coming years, given that Reed already has three teammates and a head coach enshrined in Canton. Oh, by the way: Brown is fifth all-time in catches (1,094).

11) Jimmy Johnson, coach: I sense there is growing momentum for Johnson, but not because of his Extenze ads. OK, so that was a poor play on words, but you get the point. Fans are starting to realize that repeating in the NFL has become almost impossible, and Johnson's Cowboys were one of the last teams to do it. Not to mention, the core that Johnson built won three out of four Super Bowls. That's been done exactly twice ... like, ever.

12) Andre Reed, WR: While Reed was a great player, he remains on the outside looking in, as he has just 951 catches -- 143 fewer than Brown -- and never had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Reed's candidacy is still spotty.

13) Eddie DeBartolo Jr., owner: This ranking might seem a bit high for the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, but think about it this way ... The deeper the Niners go in the playoffs -- with the Super Bowl perhaps being their ultimate destination -- the more DeBartolo's five rings will come up. An owner is due to make it to Canton soon; don't be surprised if it's DeBartolo.

14) John Lynch, S: He's the top safety out there. The key for Lynch, who has all the necessary honors and hardware, is getting in before Ed Reed and maybe Brian Dawkins -- who is eligible in 2017 -- come up. Playing safety makes for a lonely road to the Hall.

15) Aeneas Williams, DB: One of the premier cover corners in an era that featured Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson, Williams was actually the better cover guy by Y2K. He has nine touchdowns on interception returns, tied for fourth all-time with Sanders and Ken Houston -- both of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

16) Terrell Davis, RB: After talking to some people, the fear is that Davis doesn't quite have enough support to get to the next stage in the voting process. Still, he was the best running back of his time, however short that time was, which makes him a Hall of Famer in my book. After working with him on "NFL AM" and talking about the process with him, I can tell you he has a good attitude about the snubs. In fact, he jokingly lobbied voters on NFL Network's most recent Hall of Fame special.

17) Morten Andersen, K: Morten Andersen? 17th?! Yes. At some point, Andersen will join Jan Stenerud, the only player to this point to make the Hall solely as a kicker, in Canton. Adam Vinatieri will follow.

18) Paul Tagliabue, commissioner: The former commissioner clearly has support in the voters' room, as he's been a semifinalist eight times. It will become increasingly difficult to look away from the exponential growth experienced by the NFL during his stewardship from 1989 to 2006.

19) Joe Jacoby, T: One of the famed "Hogs," this former left tackle has three Super Bowl rings for a Washington Redskins team that doesn't have a ton of Hall of Fame representation ... John Riggins, Art Monk, Darrell Green and Russ Grimm. That's it.

20) Roger Craig, RB: Craig is the answer to a fun sports-bar trivia question ("Who is the first player to post 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in a season?"), but I just don't see a lot of initiative for getting him into the Hall. The overall numbers aren't there.

21) Steve Atwater, S: One of the hardest hitters to ever play the safety position, Atwater was -- and still is -- a very popular player. Lynch, however, will get the nod before the 21st potential Hall of Famer on our list.

22) Don Coryell, coach: Yes, he was the founder of his namesake "Air Coryell" offense. But finding enough votes for a head coach who won just three playoff games is becoming tougher and tougher. Fair? No. Was he a major innovator? Yes. Hall of Fame? Not anytime soon. He deserves to be honored for creating a passing system that so many teams and coaches have mimicked. It just doesn't seem to be enough, and that's a shame. By the way, his quarterback (Dan Fouts), wide receiver (Charlie Joiner) and tight end (Kellen Winslow) are all in, as is one of his offensive coordinators (Joe Gibbs), for that matter ... #justsayin

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There are eight defensive players among the Hall of Fame's 25 semifinalists. Who deserves induction? Elliot Harrison weighs in. **READ**

23) Karl Mecklenburg, LB: This guy was as versatile as any player who ever played in the front seven. He could stand up and rush from the edge, he could play with his hand in the dirt and he was an outstanding inside linebacker. He also participated in three Super Bowls. Yet, despite being named to six Pro Bowl teams, Mecklenburg is a long shot at best.

24) George Young, contributor: An architect of the Giants teams that won Super Bowl XXI and Super Bowl XXV, Young took risks -- like drafting Phil Simms from a small school (Morehead State) in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft and tapping Bill Parcells to be head coach in 1983. Executives, however, are still a tough sell.

25) Steve Wisniewski, G: A fine player who made his money by suiting up every week -- he played in 206 games and missed just two. Someone had to be 25th on this list. Thinking that landing here is not the worst thing ever.

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter _@HarrisonNFL_.

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