He was a force coming off the end, especially in the system. But his abilities weren't reliant upon the Buddy Ryan system. He had the ability to get to the quarterback, and bring the quarterback down.
One of the biggest knocks against him was that he took plays off. Usually, that's not decided before you start to rush the passer. That's something where, 'OK, I was going to try something, it didn't happen, and now I'm just going to settle things down, and I'm going to get pressure on the quarterback.'
What happens over 75 plays, once in a while, to be able to play that many plays, you've got to say, 'OK, I'm not going to have my best effort on this one. I'm going to have to bring the pass rush on the next one, and maybe conserve a little energy.'
There's a handful of guys who deserve to be in the Hall, but they can't all go in at the same time. I think eventually all the 15 finalists will get in the Hall of Fame.
With Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice going in this year, that leaves two or three other guys who can get in. With Fred Deane and Derrick Thomas already in, now the logjam at the defensive end position is starting to dissipate. Now you can take one or two pass-rushing defensive ends. That's why I think it's going to be Richard Dent, Charles Haley and maybe Shannon Sharpe
Dent did sustain his greatness for a long enough period of time. If you look at his amount of sacks compared to Hall of Famer Dan Hampton's amount of sacks, his grand total is much greater than Dan Hampton ever even dreamed about having.
When Peter King and John Clayton come out and say, 'Hey, Richard Dent's got a great chance of getting in this year,' that's enough for me to believe he'll get in there.
John Jurkovic is a former 10-year NFL defensive lineman. He co-hosts "The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show" on ESPN 1000.