I compiled a list of several notable safeties in order to help assess Dawkins's chance at the Hall of Fame. Since most defensive numbers are unofficial, I decided to focus on individual and team awards compiled by the various players. I tried to include most of the notable Safeties since 1950, with an emphasis on Dawkins's contemporaries.
Stats, Pro Bowl, All-Pro, and Hall of Fame info are from Pro Football Reference, awards are from the NFL Award pages on Wikipedia.
Non-Hall of Famers
|Years||Games||All-Dec||1st AP||Pro Bowls||Champs.||Div Champs.||Alt. Pos.||HOF Finalist|
|Steve Atwater||89-99||167||1||2||8||2||6||None||Semi: 1|
Hall of Famers
|Name||Years||Games||All-Dec||1st AP||Pro Bowls||Champs.||Div. Champs||Alt. Pos.||Finalist|
"All-Dec" refers to the number of All-Decade Teams (as voted on by the Pro Football Hall of Fame) that a player made, "1st AP" is the number of 1st Team All Pro teams a player has made, "HOF Finalists" is the number of times a player was a Hall of Fame Finalist, and "Alt. Pos." is a space that notes any alternate positions a player spent significant time at. "HOF Finalist" refers to the number of times a player was a finalist on the Hall of Fame ballot. As the NFL did not have divisions between 1950-1966, I counted conference championships as division championships during that period.
Sanders, Easley, Anderson, Polamalu, Reed, and Woodson (as a CB) were named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Of the players listed, none were ever named MVP, Walter Payton Man of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, or Comeback Player of the Year, and only Jake Scott was named Super Bowl MVP. Houston, Lott, Wilson, and Rod Woodson (as a CB) were named to the NFL All-Time Team in 1994.
Based on the info I collected, Dawkins would appear to have as strong a case as anyone to get into the Hall of Fame, as he has a great combination of longevity and peak performance. The only major weakness in his resume might be his lack of a Super Bowl and, at least compared to the safeties currently in the Hall of Fame, his lack of time spent at other positions.
This post has more useful stats related to safeties: