When he was at the top of his game, wide receiver Dez Bryant‘s cockiness was something many fans loved about him. The level of confidence he had in his abilities was potentially unmatched by any other player in the NFL. Dez Bryant hasn’t been that dominant receiver he used to be since playing for the Dallas Cowboys a few years ago, but his confidence is still there. This recently led to him making a pretty cocky claim about his pro football future.
Dez Bryant’s cockiness helped him become an elite wide receiver for the Cowboys
There were a few years where Dez Bryant was one of the best wide receivers in the NFL while playing for the Cowboys. He knew it, too.
“I believe I can do whatever he can do,” Bryant said in 2013, according to ESPN, when talking about future Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson, who had just nearly recorded 2,000 receiving yards the season prior. “I think it’s just a pride thing. When it comes to football, just being on the field, it’s a mindset and having a mentality. I honestly believe when I’m there, I’ll be feeling like there’s nothing I can’t do. Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I’m going to do it.”
Bryant didn’t quite reach Calvin Johnson’s level when he was at his best, but he really did become unstoppable in Dallas. Dez Bryant recorded 1,200 receiving yards or more in every season for the Cowboys from 2012 through 2014. He also caught 41 touchdown passes during those three seasons and even led the NFL in total touchdown catches in 2014 with 16.
However, after that 2014 season, Bryant has consistently failed to reach that 1,000-yard receiving mark. He only played in nine games in 2015 before only gaining 796 yards in 13 games in 2016. Then, in 16 games in 2017, Bryant only had 838 receiving yards. He then missed the 2018 and 2019 seasons before only catching six passes in six games for the Baltimore Ravens in 2020.
For his career, Dez Bryant has earned three Pro Bowl selections, and he was a First-Team All-Pro once. He has also caught 537 passes for 7,506 yards and 75 touchdowns.
He thinks he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame
After playing the 2020 season with the Ravens, Bryant is a free agent again, so his future in the NFL is unclear.
However, even if Bryant doesn’t play another snap, he thinks he deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Yeah, of course,” Bryant recently said to TMZ. “Nobody put up TDs the way I put [them] up; not as fast. … 77 [touchdowns], don’t forget my punt returns.”
He continued: “I won’t say first ballot, I won’t say none of that. I feel like, if not a Hall of Famer, close; close to it.”
Well, that’s a bold claim. Does he have a case, though?
Should Dez Bryant be in the Hall of Fame?
If Dez Bryant’s prime would have lasted a few years longer than it did, he would probably be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. He was absolutely incredible. However, he has only recorded 1,000-plus receiving yards in a season three times. That’s not going to cut it.
Pro Football Reference has his Hall of Fame monitor score at 36.23. The average score for wide receivers who have already made it is 104.56. The receiver with the lowest score in there is Tommy McDonald, who won a championship with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960. McDonald’s score is 55.03. It’s going to be hard for Bryant to reach that level of a score, and he potentially needs it to be even higher to get in.
Dez Bryant’s excellent play for the Cowboys helped him climb up to No. 122 in NFL history in career receiving yards. That ranking probably isn’t high enough, though. His 537 receptions, which rank 134th all-time, probably won’t do it either. Touchdowns are really the only thing can help his case, as he was a TD machine during his prime. Bryant’s 75 receiving touchdowns are 36th all-time. That’s pretty impressive when considering the fact that he wasn’t at the top of his game for very long.
Maybe, Dez Bryant still has a lot left in him and we just didn’t get to see it on the Ravens last year. If he does, maybe he can help his case a little bit over the next few seasons. However, it’s still hard to imagine that he will be able do enough to make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference