3 Broncos most deserving of Hall of Fame now that Randy Gradishar is off the list

Who can Broncos Country beat the drum for now?

Denver Broncos vs Tennessee Titans - December 25, 2004
Denver Broncos vs Tennessee Titans - December 25, 2004 / Al Messerschmidt/GettyImages
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Rod Smith, Denver Broncos
Nov 23, 2006; Kansas City, MO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver (80) Rod Smith catches a pass in a game against the Chiefs. / John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Rod Smith, Wide Receiver

Rod Smith is rarely mentioned in connection with talks about the Hall of Fame, but he absolutely should be. He still holds every major receiving record for the Broncos but he's also high up there on the all-time list.

Smith finished his 14-year career, which was spent entirely with the Broncos, with 849 receptions for 11,389 yards and 68 touchdowns. Not only have no other Broncos receivers approached those numbers, but many great NFL receivers did not either.

His 839 receptions currently ranks No. 33 in league history. That is more catches than Steve Largent, Shannon Sharpe, Michael Irvin and Calvin Johnson had in their careers. All of those players are in the Hall of Fame.

His 11,389 yards currently sit at No. 36, more than Sharpe and two AFL legends, Lance Alworth and Raymond Berry. Both of them are in the Hall of Fame.

There are more than 50 players who have more than his 68 receiving touchdowns, but it's still more than Irvin, Cliff Branch and Charlie Joiner, who are in the Hall of Fame.

The only knock on Smith is that he was undrafted coming out of college. He wasn't flashy on the field and doesn't have a fun nickname like "The Playmaker" or "Megatron". But he was the model of consistency and he was a huge part of the Broncos teams that won the Super Bowl in 1997 and 1998.

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Smith was a Hall-of-Fame player but if he ever gets in, it could be the kind of wait that Gradishar just ended. If that ends up being the same amount of time from retirement to election, we can look forward to Smith being part of the Hall of Fame class of 2048!