5 former 49ers who should be Hall of Famers before Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley (74) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 4: 49ers Left Tackle Joe Staley

Six-Time Pro Bowler

Not unlike Bryant Young, it’s pretty hard to quantify why recently retired left tackle Joe Staley belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame before Julian Edelman.

When Staley’s retirement was announced in the middle of the 2020 NFL Draft, there were few calls for Hall of Fame status outside the 49ers fanbase. It’s not too hard to understand why, as offensive linemen rarely receive the credit they deserve. And unless one is keeping track of pancakes, Pro Football Focus grades and the like, it’s awfully tough to stack up the individual O-line stats over the course of a career aside from starts and games played.

But let’s face it: Staley’s six Pro Bowl nods sure help put him in the category above Edelman.

Yes, Staley should have won two Super Bowl rings. So Edelman surely has him beat there, and the fact the latter got to play for much of the latter portion of the Patriots’ dynasty years sure makes him the playoff favorite of Staley, who aside from the stretch from 2011 through 2014 and then in 2019, spent the majority of his Niners career on bad or rebuilding teams.

Staley’s career was two years longer than Edelman’s, too. And while Edelman had his 19 career playoff games, don’t count out Staley’s 11.

That has to factor into the entire discussion as well.