In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, the NFL announced its latest Hall of Fame class. Some of the members got in on their first try while others had to wait for decades. This year’s class was heavy on the defense, with 6 of the 7 player inductees being defenders. Below are some of the latest Hall of Famers’ key rookie cards.
Darrelle Revis 2007 SP Authentic Auto
Darrelle Revis was drafted by the New York Jets with the 14th pick of the 2007 NFL Draft. It didn’t take long for him to become the league’s best cornerback. In 2009, Revis had perhaps the greatest cornerback season in NFL history locking up superstar receivers like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson and Reggie Wayne.
In his later years, Revis moved to the New England Patriots where he won a Super Bowl ring. He would later return to the Jets before finishing his career with the Kansas City Chiefs. Revis has some impressive autographed rookie cards including this 2007 SP Authentic Auto.
Ken Riley 1973 Topps
Ken Riley was a star quarterback in college for Florida A&M University. After he was drafted into the NFL, Cincinnati Bengals Coach Paul Brown chose to convert Riley to cornerback. The move proved to be a wise one as Riley became one of the very best defensive backs in the entire league.
Despite picking off 65 balls during his career, which still ranks 5th all-time, the cornerback never played in a Pro Bowl. After looking at his incredible career with fresh eyes, writers chose to enshrine the long-time cornerback into the Hall of Fame. His only rookie card is included in Topps 1973 set.
Joe Thomas 2007 Topps Chrome
Joe Thomas was the lone offensive player inducted in this Hall of Fame class and like Revis, he received the honor in his first year of eligibility. The offensive tackle was taken with the 3rd pick in the 2007 draft. He would soon set a standard for excellence at the position over the next 10 seasons.
While the Cleveland Browns were a pretty terrible team during Thomas’ career, that had little to do with his play. Over his career, the tackle was selected to 10 Pro Bowls and was a 6-time First Team All Pro. His 2007 Topps Chrome Rookie card is quite affordable online.
Joe Klecko 1978 Topps
In the early to mid 1980’s, the Jets ran out a defensive line group referred to as the New York Sack Exchange. The most recognizable player of the group was Mark Gastineau who broke the league sack record in 1984. Klecko, however, was the heart and soul of the unit.
During, Klecko made the Pro Bowl at 3 different positions; defensive end, defensive tackle, and nose tackle. It took decades for the Hall of Fame to recognize the 4 time Pro Bowler, but Klecko will be honored this year. His lone rookie card is featured in the 1978 Topps set.
DeMarcus Ware 2005 Donruss Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Auto
Despite his status as a dominant defender at Troy University, DeMarcus Ware was expected to be drafted in the second round of the 2005 draft. Jerry Jones overruled his decision-makers and used the 11th pick to draft the pass rushers. It is one of the better decisions he ever made.
The 9-time Pro Bowler was a dominant force for Dallas before finishing his career with the Broncos, winning a Super Bowl in 2015. Ware’s 138.5 career sacks rank him 9th all-time. His Playoff Contenders rookie ticket card is attractive looking and a strong investment.
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