Roaf A Hall Of Fame Finalist
Former Saints offensive lineman Willie Roaf is one of 17 finalists up for Hall of Fame enshrinement this year. He was an 11 time pro bowler, 7 time all-pro, 9 time all-conference, and two time all decade team (90s, 00s) selection. His resume speaks for itself. Peter Finney of the Times Picayune has more.
Jim Mora, who watched Roaf blossom after making him a first-round pick in 1994, put him in a special category.
"There aren't many offensive linemen that ever played this game that had the talent Willie had,'' said Mora. "The way he moved, the quickness, the skill, is what impressed me.''
In his four years in Kansas City, Roaf did enough to leave his coach, Dick Vermeil, with a lasting impression.
"Willie was the most explosive, dominating offensive lineman I ever coached,'' he said. "I've never been around a lineman that could physically dominate another good defensive lineman or linebacker in this league. Willie could dominate an All-Pro, reducing him to the level of an average player. His explosive moves out of his stance have never been equaled by anyone. His ability to get out into the perimeter with speed and grace, then block a moving target in space, was spectacular. One of the most impressive attributes about Willie was his ability to compete against the best. The better the player he faced, the more dominating he became. To me, he's the finest offensive lineman to ever play the game. He was truly a 'shut-down' tackle.''
Roaf certainly will be in Canton one day. The question is, will it be this August, or a year or two down the road. Other finalists this year include the following: Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin, Deion Sanders, Richard Dent, Charles Haley, Cortez Kennedy, Shannon Sharpe, Dermontti Dawson, Tim Brown, Chris Carter, Andre Reed, Chris Doleman, Chris Hanburger, Les Richter, and the founder of NFL Films, Ed Sabol.