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Is Anquan Boldin a Future Hall of Famer?


ESPN NFL insider Adam Caplan caught my attention with his take on 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

"To me, he's not a Hall of Fame player, just below that," Caplan told me at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. "But he's a really good football player."

Caplan made the comment before San Francisco agreed on a new two-year contract with Boldin, the winner of the team's 2013 Bill Walsh Award, one of the team's two MVP honors.

Boldin, who enters his 12th NFL season, remains one of the top possession receivers in the NFL, but as Caplan suggested, there are doubts about the hard-nosed receiver eventually finding a home in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It's a close call.

"We are pleased that Anquan has chosen to continue his career as a 49er," general manager Trent Baalke said in a press release. "He is a consummate professional whose love and respect for the game provide a tremendous example for all players."

Boldin, 33, led the 49ers with 85 receptions for 1,179 receiving yards in his first season in San Francisco. He also caught seven touchdown passes as the team's top perimeter threat with Michael Crabtree sidelined for most of 2013.

So how much more does Boldin need to accomplish to join 23 other modern era wide receivers in the Hall of Fame? Perhaps this question boils down to scoring more touchdowns and continuing his productive play of 2013.

In comparison to 16-year veteran Andre Reed, a member of the Hall's class of 2014, Boldin's statistics compare favorably.

Reed caught 951 passes for 13,198 receiving yards with 87 touchdown catches and an average of 56.4 yards per game.

Reed, a seven-time Pro Bowler and a member of four AFC Champion teams with the Buffalo Bills, ranks 13th all-time in receiving yards, 11th all-time in receptions and is tied for the 12th most touchdown catches in NFL history.

Boldin trails Reed in touchdown catches, but the 49ers wideout makes up for the disparity with his total yards per game.

Boldin's career average of 72.7 yards per game ranks No. 14 all time; Reed's average of 56.4 yards per game is No. 80 in league history.

Furthermore, in Boldin's 11 seasons, the physical receiver has produced 857 catches, 11,344 receiving yards and 65 touchdown catches.

Boldin ranks No. 20 in all-time receptions and No. 29 in all-time receiving yards.

The 49ers receiver trails Reed by 94 catches, 1,854 receiving yards and 22 touchdown catches.

If Boldin finishes his new two-year contract with the same high level of play he demonstrated in 2013, Boldin will have a case for inclusion into the hallowed grounds of Canton, Ohio.

Boldin has more career receptions than 19 current Hall of Fame receivers and is tied with Michael Irvin with 65 touchdown catches.

In closing, Boldin has been named to three Pro Bowls and has made a Super Bowl appearance with each conference, including a win in Super Bowl XLVII with the Baltimore Ravens.

If that's not a good enough argument, take this final note into consideration:

Boldin is the fastest player in NFL history to reach 400 career receptions (67 games), 500 career receptions (80 games) and 600 career receptions (98 games). He set the league's rookie record with 101 receptions and was named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2003.

Every year since, Boldin has built on his reputation as being one of the toughest players to ever play his position.

Boldin might not be a lock to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but the Hall could stand to honor his considerable contributions to three different franchises.


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