Joining Dent are Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Shannon Sharpe, Ed Sabol, Les Richter and Chris Hanburger.
"It was a long time coming, I am very happy," Dent said. "If you can do your thing the way (Walter Payton) did his, you can be in the Hall of Fame. I am so thankful for this."
The former Bears defensive end was the MVP of the 1986 Super Bowl. He was the top pass rusher on one of the NFL's greatest defensive units. Dent became a starter in 1984, beginning a 10-year period in which he made 10 or more sacks in eight of 10 seasons.
Dent also won a Super Bowl in 1994 with the 49ers, finishing his career with single seasons with Indianapolis in 1996 and Philadelphia in 1997.
Concluding his overall career with 137.5 sacks, Dent tied with John Randle for sixth in most sacks in NFL history behind only Bruce Smith (200.0), Reggie White (198.0), Kevin Greene (160.0), Chris Doleman (150.5) and Michael Strahan (141.5).
Finalists who did not get into the Hall of Fame are Curtis Martin, Dermontti Dawson, Cortez Kennedy, Andre Reed and Willie Roaf.
Induction ceremonies are August 6 in Canton, Ohio.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.