Part of what makes a player great over his career is longevity. The rule of thumb I have always heard for HOF selection is 'a decade of dominance.' Unless you really change the game, you have to have ~a decade of being an elite player to get in (an exception may be a guy like Megatron, because his combo of size, speed, power, hands, etc. in some ways revolutionized the game of football).
Leonard is certainly off to a good start.. and by a stats comparison, a better start than Lewis. Lewis was not an all-pro (first or second team) as a rookie. He was 2nd team in his 2nd and 3rd years, and again in 2010. He was first team 7 times.
Leonard was a first team all pro as a rookie, which is very rare. He was 2nd team in year 2, a year in which he missed 3+ games. Leonard was the defensive rookie of the year (Simeon Rice got that award when Lewis was a rookie). At the same points in their careers, Leonard has proven to be better at causing turnovers (his INT numbers are outstanding for a LBer)... but, he also plays in a different scheme and a different position (most of the time), so that's hard to really judge.
Lewis was a 2x NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Leonard has not done that yet. I don't doubt that he's capable of it, but he hasn't. Lewis was a 2x Superbowl Champion and a 1x SB MVP, both things which Leonard hasn't accomplished. Lewis was a 13x pro-bowler.. like Leonard, he missed out his rookie year. Lewis is also on the 2000's all-decade team as the best at his position during that decade.
In terms of off-field stuff, Leonard seems to have less baggage than Lewis did at a young age. That said, Lewis did seem to clean up his act after that alleged murder incident. He also seems to be a pretty solid guy now and has several charities and does a lot for young minority communities.
In terms of on-field leadership, Lewis was outstanding. I don't know how long that took, as I don't follow Baltimore as intensely as I do Indy (i.e., was he a captain in his second year and a tremendous leader of men as a rookie? I don't know). Leonard, was named team captain in his 2nd year, and he was a leader right out of the gates. From all interviews and things I've read, his coaches and teammates view him as the leader of the Indy D and seemingly have after just a few games as a rookie -- that's rare.
In short, Leonard is off to a heckuva start to his career.... but, let's hold off on comparing him to a first-ballot HOFer. If he keeps it up for another 8-12 years, this thread deserves to be revisited.
I am not calling Barkley a choker because when he went to Philly they were not the same team that had won the finale in 1983. When he played for Phoenix they were a 50% team.
His last 4 years with Houston he only stated 152 games in four years due to injury.
He averaged 22.1 pts and 11.7 rebounds in his career.
In the playoffs he averaged 23 pts and 12.9 rebounds.
He was the rebound leader in 1987 at 6'5".
He was the MVP in 1993.
He also was the team leader for both Gold Medals in the Olympics in 1992 and 1996.
Sorry IMO those are not choker numbers.
We are a still a pretty young team so most of our guys will be better than last season. All of us have to be excited to have Buckner on this roster. He should make all of our D backs have better grades. The addition of Taylor makes us very dangerous on the ground as well.
Stay positive my friend.
I think this team is like 2018, except we have Rivers instead of Luck. Better team too. Love getting Buckner, liked the draft a lot. I think we win the division with a shot at the SB if things go right. Lets hope for the best!