Karl Mecklenburg has long been in the conversation for the Hall of Fame but has yet to garner the prestigious honor. Mecklenburg was Von Miller before Von Miller came along.
The outside linebacker out of Minnesota was one of the most dominant edge rushers of his time.
Mecklenburg came into the league as a 12th round draft pick (effectively an undrafted free agent in today’s NFL) and took a year to really make an impact. Once he did, the league had to take notice. In his twelve-year career, he accumulated 79 sacks and 1,118 tackles. He finished his career second in sacks in Denver Bronco history (he now stands third behind Miller).
What set him apart was his all-around game as noted by his total tackles. He is second in franchise history in tackles. For comparison, Simon Fletcher (first in sacks) and Von Miller (second in sacks) have 828 and 412 tackles respectively. This holds true when comparing to other rushers of his era.
From 1983 to 1994, Mecklenburg ranked 23rd overall in sacks, and he ranked 4th in tackles. Compared to all 22 players with more sacks, Mecklenburg had the most tackles out of all them and the sixth most interceptions.
Four of the five guys with more sacks and interceptions than Mecklenburg are in the Hall of Fame.
During his tenure with Denver, Karl was selected to six Pro Bowls and was named First-Team All-Pro four times. He was nominated by fans to the Denver Broncos 50th Anniversary Team and currently has his name in the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame.
Despite being retired for over 20 years, Karl has yet to taste the Hall of Fame, but that should change here in the next few years.